ATLANTA – Boomer Esiason believes there are good things ahead for Sam Darnold now that Adam Gase has taken over as the Jets’ head coach.
“I think Adam Gase is going to be great for Sam Darnold,” Esiason said Tuesday at a CBS pre-Super Bowl news conference. “Sam seems to be real committed. I felt like Jared Goff (of the Rams) is serious about football. I feel that way about Josh Allen (of the Bills). I feel that way about Baker Mayfield (of the Browns), and I feel that way about Sam Darnold. I feel like they are really into it. They want to be good, and they recognize what it takes to get there.”
Darnold had a solid rookie season, passing for 2,865 yards and 17 touchdowns, showing marked improvement the second half of the season. But he ought to be prepared for some demanding expectations from Gase.
“Adam’s going to be very tough on him, but that’s good.” Esisason said. "You have to coach these kids up. If you saw (Jon) Gruden coach Derek Carr this year, they didn’t have a good year. But, I thought they had a great head coach-quarterback year. He really rode that quarterback pretty hard. That’s what you want. You want that guy to have thick-skin, so when the game is on the line late, he can pull it out for you.
“This is what (Bill) Belichick has done to (Tom) Brady over the past 19 years,” Esiason said. “People just don’t realize it. When you’re around them, Brady’s just one of the guys. Tom’s willing to take coaching and criticism to the point where the other guys have to as well. If he’s leading by example, everybody’s got to follow. I think Darnold can be that way.”
Esiason said the Giants should have taken Darnold with the second overall pick last year. Instead, they took Penn State running back Saquon Barkley.
“People in New York know that I think the Giants should have drafted him,” Esiason said. “They drafted Saquon Barkley, and that turned out okay. I don’t know if the Giants will win a Super Bowl with just a running back.”