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The Good and Bad Sides of Sam Darnold

New York Jets v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Young quarterbacks will always have some ugly moments. If you’re lucky, they will also show some promising ones as well.

We saw this last week in Sam Darnold’s game against the Ravens.

Bad Sam

Right before the half, Darnold threw an ugly interception.

Let me start off by saying this. I don’t blame the play call for the interception, but it didn’t help matters.

Look how compressed the five Jets receivers are. The Ravens don’t have to defend much of the field on this play. Space is the friend of offense. It is going to be very difficult to complete a pass into this kind of traffic.

If the playcall limited the odds of success, a very poor decision from Darnold turned it into a catastrophe. I have seen a few people speculate that Daniel Brown was supposed to curl his route inside. Even if that’s true, I really don’t see how Darnold can make the throw he made.

Let’s say Brown was supposed to move inside and catch the ball at the 5, where Darnold’s throw ended up. It was going to be difficult to win his matchup and get there because the man assigned to him had inside leverage.

Additionally, the defense had safety help inside.

Even if there was some sort of option built into this route, I think Brown probably read it correctly, and Darnold read it incorrectly. The only open space was up the field and to the outside. There was no way a window was going to open up inside.

Either way, I don’t think Darnold can throw this ball where he did. These are the types of decisions he needs to cut out.

Good Sam

When you have a young quarterback on an undermanned team, the bad like we saw above tends to happen. You just hope there is some good. There were lots of impressive Darnold plays against Baltimore. Take this touchdown in the fourth quarter to Jamison Crowder.

How good was this throw? Look at how close the defender is to Darnold (#14) and how little separation Crowder (#82) has.

That’s an extremely impressive throw. The ball had to come out when it did. There is a tight window to hit Crowder with a throw breaking toward the sideline. This is a special play.


Hopefully for the Jets plays like the second will happen at a higher rate, and plays like the first will happen at a lower rate as Darnold gains more experience.