Sam Darnold will miss the New York Jets' "Monday Night Football" matchup with the Cleveland Browns, head coach Adam Gase . Darnold, the Jets' franchise quarterback who threw for 175 yards and a score in New York's season-opening loss to the Buffalo Bills, is currently dealing with mono. While nothing beyond Monday's game is certain, it appears that Gase and the Jets are not expecting to have Darnold back until Week 5, when New York travels to Philadelphia to take on the Eagles. Following Monday night's game against Cleveland, the Jets will travel to Foxborough, Massachusetts, to take on the Patriots before entering their Week 4 bye.
New York is currently trying to replenish its quarterback room. Devlin Hodges, an undrafted rookie who spent the preseason with the Pittsburgh Steelers, was on his way to New York to join the team's practice squad earlier this week before re-signing with the Steelers after the team traded Josh Dobbs to Jacksonville. While the Jets still don't have a No. 3 quarterback on the active roster, Trevor Siemian, a five-year veteran who spent last season backing up Kirk Cousins in Minnesota, will make his 25th career start when the Browns come to town Monday night.
A seventh-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the 6-foot-3, 220-pound Siemian won a Super Bowl with the Broncos as Denver's No. 3 quarterback during his rookie season. The following season, Siemian won the starting job after beating out Mark Sanchez and 2016 first-round pick Paxton Lynch during the preseason. Siemian put up solid yet unspectacular numbers that season, completing nearly 60 percent of his passes for 3,401 yards with 18 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 14 starts. The Broncos, despite winning eight of their 14 starts with Siemian under center, failed to qualify for the postseason.
After a solid start to the 2017 season, a shoulder injury, then a poor performance in a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs led to Siemian getting benched in relief of Lynch at midseason. Siemian later replaced an injured Lynch before suffering sustaining another shoulder injury that ended his season in Week 15.
Siemian, who didn't attempt a single regular-season pass during his one season with the Vikings, went 25 of 32 for 158 yards with a score and no interceptions during the preseason. Despite decent preseason numbers, ESPN's Rich Cimini has dubbed Siemian with the nickname "Captian Checkdown" heading into his first regular-season start as a Jet.
Given his nickname, and the opponent he will face Monday, fans should expect New York's game plan to feature short, safe passes from Siemian against a Cleveland secondary that allowed Marcus Mariota to throw three touchdown passes in Tennessee's blowout victory over the Browns. Cleveland also failed to sack Mariota, who connected with tight end Delanie Walker for two of his three touchdown passes, a good sign for Jets fans who are hoping that Darnold can take advantage of the middle of the Browns' defense.
While Cleveland's is surely out to prove that last Sunday's outing was a fluke, the Jets' offense is looking to play a complete game after squandering a 16-point lead in their season-opener. The onus will be on each of New York's offensive players to right the ship, but it's especially critical that Siemian remains consistent for 60 minutes while helping the Jets dictate the tempo of the game.
A positive for Siemian and the Jets is the news that running back Le'Veon Bell's recent MRI did not show any damage to his shoulder. With a healthy Bell by his side, and with his teammates hungry to make amends for last Sunday's collapse, Siemian should be able to hold his own against the Browns on Sunday night, assuming the contest doesn't turn into a shoot-out.