NY Jets: Robert Saleh and Mike LaFleur believe Sam Darnold has ‘untapped potential’

NY Jets, Sam Darnold (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images)
NY Jets, Sam Darnold (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images) /

The NY Jets are going to have a decision to make about quarterback Sam Darnold this offseason. And following the hiring of new head coach Robert Saleh, the rumors have continued to swirl about Darbold’s future.

Some believe that the Jets could still salvage Darnold’s career and that the hiring of Saleh, and more importantly the expected hiring of offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur, could be the best-case scenario for the struggling young quarterback.

Others feel that it’s best for the team to move on for a combination of logistical and financial reasons. They believe that the Jets’ best option would be to trade Darnold and look to find his replacement in the 2021 NFL Draft.

As for where the Jets stand, no one knows for sure. But we’re sure to hear our fair share of reports over the coming months.

One recent rumor emerged on Sunday with ESPN’s Rich Cimini reporting that both Saleh and LaFleur believed that Darnold has “untapped potential.”

Over the past few days, we’ve heard plenty of rumors about how the Jets feel about Darnold. Adam Schefter said the day that Saleh was hired that he believed Darnold would be the team’s quarterback in 2021.

However, shortly after, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported that the Jets had not made a decision on Darnold and that they were keeping all options open.

It’s probably safe to say that the Jets have not made up their minds yet. And even if they have, we likely won’t hear about it.

The NY Jets are sure to be secretive about Sam Darnold’s future

The Jets have notably been good at keeping secrets during Douglas’ tenure with few leaks about the Saleh hire before it was already finalized. The same was true for the Jamal Adams trade last summer.

That being said, there is some logic behind the belief that Darnold has untapped potential. Assuming the LaFleur hire is finalized, it’s interesting to imagine how Darnold would perform in a Kyle Shanahan-inspired offense.

A scheme that emphasizes play-action and an up-tempo offense is a much better fit than the half-hearted Adam Gase system that Darnold has been forced to endure over the last two years.

Under Gase, Darnold was relegated to the role of what essentially amounted to a game-manager. It’s fair to wonder how LaFleur’s system could maximize Darnold’s potential and help him discover some of that “untapped potential.”

We still have a ways to go before the Jets are ultimately forced to make a decision on Sam Darnold’s future. But at the very least, the new coaching staff does seem to believe in his potential.

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How much of that is actually the truth as opposed to a smokescreen designed to boost his trade value is up for interpretation, however.