Though the Jets have yet to tip their hand with regard to their Week 1 starter at QB, Cimini noted Sunday that the sense he gets "is that, barring regression against the Giants, (Darnold is) trending toward" earning the assignment. While veteran signal-callers Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater are still on hand, from the moment Darnold was taken third overall in April's draft, it was only a matter of time before he gained the Jets' starting role.
Darnold certainly didn't do anything to knock himself out of contention, as his interception came on a fourth-down play where he had no choice but to try to squeeze the ball into a tight window. Teddy Bridgewater threw the team's lone touchdown in the second half and is mounting a strong challenge for the starting spot, though he could also be a trade candidate since Darnold is the Jets' future at the position. Another factor to consider is that New York's first three games of the season are played over an 11-day span, creating a potentially overwhelming situation for a rookie from a preparation standpoint.
Darnold got the start in Week 2 of the preseason Thursday in Washington, completing eight of 11 passes for 62 yards and an interception in the 15-13 loss.
Darnold was hampered by poor offensive line play as New York went 3-and-out on its opening drive, throwing the ball away due to pressure on second down before being sacked on third down. The rookie quarterback led his team to a field goal on the next possession, though he took another third-down sack inside Washington's 20-yard line. His third and final possession of the first half ended with a fourth-down interception in Redskins territory. While Darnold still isn't pushing the envelope much downfield, he was able to move the offense well and remains in the mix to start in Week 1 if he can show sustained growth throughout the rest of the preseason.
Darnold is expected to play extensive snaps in Thursday's preseason game against the Redskins, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.
Darnold completed 13 of 18 passes for 96 yards, one touchdown and zero interceptions in his first preseason action against the Falcons. He also ran twice for eight yards. Rapoport added that Darnold could "solidify his hold on the starting job" with another solid performance. Darnold could be a smart DFS option with the high snap count, but he'll face a tough Washington pass defense.
Darnold "has a very fair shot" of emerging as the Jets' starting quarterback for the regular-season opener Sept. 10 against the Lions, a source familiar with the situation informed Adam Schefter of ESPN.
After the Jets tabbed Darnold with the No. 3 overall pick in April, it was fully expected that he would start at some point in 2018. With the Jets re-signing Josh McCown and bringing in Teddy Bridgewater in free agency, however, the odds of Darnold contributing right away in the NFL seemed low heading into training camp. The 21-year-old rookie has apparently impressed even more than anticipated in his initial practices with the Jets and now apparently has a realistic opportunity to challenge the two veterans for the No. 1 gig during the preseason. Darnold's performance during the exhibition slate will ultimately dictate whether he opens his NFL career under center or on the sideline, but the organization's early optimism about the rookie during camp bodes well for his chances of getting a look early in the season, if not in Week 1.
|P4||8/30/18||@ PHI||7:00 pm|
|1||9/10/18||@ DET||7:10 pm|
|3||9/20/18||@ CLE||8:20 pm|
|4||9/30/18||@ JAC||1:00 pm|
|8||10/28/18||@ CHI||1:00 pm|
|9||11/4/18||@ MIA||1:00 pm|
|Bye: Week 11|
|13||12/2/18||@ TEN||4:05 pm|
|14||12/9/18||@ BUF||1:00 pm|
|17||12/30/18||@ NE||1:00 pm|
|2018||New York Jets||0||0||0||0||---||0||---||0||0||0||0/0||0||0||---|
|2018||New York Jets||0||0||0||0||---||0||0||0||0|