NY Jets: Grading and analyzing Sam Darnold’s 2019 season

NY Jets (Photo by Steven NY JetsRyan/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Steven NY JetsRyan/Getty Images) /

NY Jets quarterback Sam Darnold had a tumultuous sophomore NFL season full of ups and downs. We take a look and grade the young quarterback’s 2019 campaign.

NY Jets quarterback Sam Darnold missed a few games in 2019 due to a bout with mononucleosis but bounced back in his Week 6 return against the Dallas Cowboys to win 24-22.

The Jets struggled immensely without Darnold under center and lost to the Cleveland Browns 23-3 in Week 2, the New England Patriots 30-14 in Week 3, had a bye week following that, and lost to the Philadelphia Eagles 31-6 in Week 5 before Darnold returned

The Jets were clearly a different team without him.

Darnold threw 19 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 2019 and passed for 3,024 yards. This is a slight improvement from his rookie year in 2018 when he threw for 2,865 yards and had 17 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.

Darnold was sacked a whopping 33 times in just 13 games as the offensive line struggled to protect him last season.

This was only Darnold’s second year in the NFL and he’s already improving. This is his first year under head coach Adam Gase, who’s Jets finished 7-9 in the AFC East.

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Darnold is learning and adjusting to NFL life at a quick pace and probably would have put up much better numbers if he had a better offensive line to help give him some time in the pocket to make his decisions.

A solid offensive line is key and essential to a quarterback’s development and so is having a few good targets to throw to. Former Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson failed to reach the 1,000-yard mark in his respective season, and he finished 779 yards.

That’s a bit of a disappointment, but it’s hard to blame him given the offense he was in. A quarterback can make a wide receiver better, and a wide receiver can make a quarterback better.

Darnold wasn’t that bad of a quarterback given the struggles of the offensive line and the fact that he had few players in the receiving game to work with.

While the Darnold-to-Anderson connection could have been developed more, the Jets hope to have the Darnold-to-Denzel Mims connection become the new thing fans can look forward to for years to come.

In 2020, I expect Sam Darnold to have a much better season given the improvements of the offensive line. His revamped supporting cast will feature the likes of Connor McGovern, Greg Van Roten, and Mekhi Becton, and that could be a significant factor in Darnold’s progression.

Darnold did a good job despite having his experience cut short due to missing a chunk of time dealing with illness and a less-than-mediocre offensive line. The young quarterback of the Jets is making progress as far as the statistics are concerned.

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The fact that Darnold improved given his less than ideal circumstances is why I’ll keep his grade at a solid ‘B.’

Grade: B