Forget about Darnold’s stats (8 for 11, 62 yards, 1 INT, 48.3 rating in three drives) in the second preseason game against Washington. There were plenty of encouraging signs as the organization continues the evaluation process for the young signal caller. While it’s easy to suggest that Darnold is screwed behind a highly questionable offensive line at the moment, decision makers glean plenty of valuable intel in those situations.
Notable players who were out due to injury: LT Kelvin Beachum, RG Brian Winters, WR Quincy Enunwa (thumb), RB Isaiah Crowell (concussion), WR Terrelle Pryor (ankle), TE Chris Herndon, NYT Steve McLendon (leg) and PK Cairo Santos (groin), RB/returner Trenton Cannon, who muffed two punts last week, also was out due to injury.
Remember: Darnold’s “wow” moments in the preseason opener against the Falcons were born out of shaky offensive line play that prompted him to escape collapsed pockets. Darnold’s mobility, one of his best traits, will mitigate some of the offensive line issues, but the Jets are potentially playing with fire. Gang Green can’t afford to go down the same path as the Colts, who made poor investments in their line and neglected to correct them before disaster struck. The result: Andrew Luck took a beating for years before missing last season due to injury.
When asked this spring about the possibility that his roster spot could be in jeopardy given his $5 million, non-guaranteed base salary (and a strong group of younger wideouts in the building), Kearse matter-of-factly told me: “If someone’s going to beat me, I mean, f–k. They did a hell of a job, because I know I’m not going to make it easy.”
“I gave him some cheese,” Norman said of one play in which he tried to fool Darnold. “He held it, and he was going to throw it, and he pulled it back and I jumped back real fast, and I was like, you little devil. OK, I see you working really good right now. I couldn’t bait him like I wanted to, and he saw it and he read it out, and he read it out like a vet. You tip your hat to a guy like that, learning at an early age when guys are messing with him and when they’re not. It’s pretty awesome.”