Sam Darold’s Future in New York

Four games. Four embarrassing losses. No staff changes. Why?

Many around the league believe the Jets won’t fire head coach Adam Gase yet in fear of it negatively affecting Sam Darnold. (Ian Rapoport)

Yes, you read that right. In fear of hurting Sam Darnold, the Jets are not firing Adam Gase. It makes sense. Why would you fire the man in charge of this offense…

32nd total offense

32nd in first downs

32nd in passing

32nd in punts per play

31st in scoring

31st in drives ending in scores

31st in total touchdowns

30th in time of possession

26th in rushing

26th in plays per game

In the apparent worst-case scenario that Sam Darnold is freed from the historically bad offense run by Adam Gase’s “brilliant offensive mind,” how exactly would Darnold be affected? Well for one, he’d have the opportunity to play to his strengths.

If the Jets do decide to fire Adam Gase in-season, the most logical plan would be to run the offense around Darnold and his strongest abilities. Once Gase is relieved of his duties, the season immediately shifts to evaluating Darnold. Say the Jets promote Frank Pollack to interim head coach; Pollack’s first acts as interim head coach should be sitting down and building a playbook with Sam Darnold. Running an offense that resembles his old system at USC would be most beneficial. Running a scheme that he is familiar with and comfortable with is the best way to determine what the Jets have in Sam Darnold.

At that point, evaluating Darnold will be an easier task. If he plays well enough and drops the Jets out of Trevor Lawrence range, great. That’s impressive in itself. Jets have their guy.

But, if he continues to regress, the Jets will lose games and ultimately be set to take the generational talent from Clemson, Trevor Lawrence.

How have the Jets gotten to this point? Blame Mike Maccagnan, Christopher Johnson, and Adam Gase. Adam Gase’s predictable and outdated playbook is hurting Sam Darnold. Christopher Johnson’s inability to take accountability for a bad hire and deeming the hire an “offensive mastermind” is hurting Sam Darnold. Mike Maccagnan’s disappointing lies stating “we have money…” “we have picks…” “wait until next year…” with nothing to show for it hurt Sam Darnold.

The Jets had assets, but not a competent GM. Through a mix of horrible team management and horrible coaching, Darnold’s most crucial developmental years were wasted. Joe Douglas now has assets. He has the money. He has the picks. The difference between the two is that Joe Douglas actually knows how to utilize these assets and build a team.

Darnold’s problem: his developmental window is being slammed shut by Adam Gase. It may be too late to revive. On top of the mistakes that we are used to him making, Darnold is now making new mistakes that rookie Darnold wasn’t making. These are scars of his past three seasons and may be irreversible. This is a situation that can only be monitored throughout the season.

If Sam Darnold can win the Jets out of the first pick, it will be enough to extend his life in New York and Joe Douglas will have another year to build the team around Darnold that should’ve been built years ago. But if he stays on his current path, the Jets will find themselves with a new franchise quarterback on draft night.

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