Florham Park, NJ– Today’s practice was closed to the public, and without a boisterous fan base to distract the players, the Jets got down to business and tried to help their new quarterback learn the playbook. It was a sloppy day on both sides of the ball.
Growing Pains for Darnold
All eyes were on Sam Darnold today. Team owner Chris Johnson and general manager Mike Maccagnan made a rare pilgrimage down to the practice field to witness their shiny new quarterback. Darnold got looks early and often, and threw a majority of the passes during team and seven-on-seven drills. He, like every other quarterback who has entered the league, faces a substantial learning curve. Darnold was quick to notice the change in quality of play, saying after practice, “Everybody is faster. Yeah the cornerbacks are faster and better, but so are the receivers. So is the offensive line, and so is the defensive line. It’s going to be about throwing guys open and finding the tight windows.”
Darnold under threw some passes including in the short yardage, but that will improve as his chemistry with his teammates grows. With Darnold finally in camp and Josh McCown already having a firm grasp on the playbook and his receivers, Teddy Bridgewater appears to be the forgotten man in the quarterback’s room, but still has time to turn it around.
Team Focus: Short Yardage Scenarios
Once the teams settled into drills, it became apparent that the theme of today was short yardage and goal-line situations. The defensive line almost constantly overwhelmed the offensive line, and forced the quarterbacks into quick-twitch decisions, and most passes were completed to a tight end or a running back in the flat. Isaiah Crowell showed good patience, as he made hard cuts into small gaps and turned up field. He is a one-cut type of back, and should remind some fans of Chris Ivory. Later on when the lineman went to their drills, the secondary were working on jumping short routes and covering running backs.
A problem throughout camp has been the penalties, but that is nothing out of the ordinary for NFL teams early on in camp. They were better today, taking only four penalties compared to six and nine their last two times out. That being said, there were four big drops today on perfectly placed throws, which lead to a audibly frustrated Darnold after a drop by fellow rookie Chris Herndon. Spencer Long also sent three snaps into the dirt, and the defense, which at this point in camp are not hitting to their full potential, brought multiple people to the ground including a hit on Darnold. Not what you want to see when Elijah McGuire is already out for multiple weeks and Quincy Enunwa had to sit out of practice.
Parry Nickerson looked good today, recording one pick and having tight coverage all over the field. Josh Martin has been impressing all of camp, and picked up multiple would be sacks in team drills. Buster Skrine banged up his hand and had a splint on. Shaneil Jenkins and Jordan Leggett sat out and rode the stationary bikes today. As previously noted, Quincy Enunwa missed practice with an injury which Todd Bowles said was not related to his neck.
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