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Jets Q&A: Darnold sits again because he didn't have enough practice reps

Jets rookie quarterback Sam Darnold sat out his

Jets rookie quarterback Sam Darnold sat out his third consecutive game because of a strained right foot on Sunday against the Titans in Nashville.  Credit: Jim McIsaac

How close was Sam Darnold to playing?

Close, but not really that close, because Josh McCown knew toward the end of the week that he would be the starter. Darnold seemingly was held out for precautionary reasons because of the right foot strain he suffered Nov. 4 in Miami. The rookie quarterback was limited in practice all week but could return next week against Buffalo.

“He could have played,” Todd Bowles said. “He just needed more reps. You just can’t bring him back after 14 or 17 days. Even if he’s healthy, to not have timing and everything else and put him out there today in a game like this. We’ll reload this week and see where he is.”   

Did McCown change the play on the crucial third-and-5 after the two-minute warning?

No. It was a reverse pitch to rookie Trenton Cannon, but it was snuffed out by Titans linebacker Jayon Brown for no gain. A first down there, and the Jets could have run out the clock.

“That was the call,” Bowles said. “We knew we were going to keep them inbounds and they were sending everybody up the middle. We tried to get outside but stay inbounds, and they got us.”   

What’s wrong with the offense?

A lot, but the players don’t want to throw their coaches or teammates under the bus. The Jets scored no offensive touchdowns for the second time in four games and netted only 280 yards. It’s execution and play-calling. Coordinator Jeremy Bates definitely is on the hot seat.

Wide receiver Quincy Enunwa was asked what’s wrong, but he wouldn’t say.

“Well, I still have a job right now,” Enunwa said. “So as much as I’d love to say what my opinion of that is, I’d rather just keep that to myself.”   

Isn’t the lack of discipline the fault of the coaching staff?

You would think so, but the players continue to support their coach, no one more so than safety Jamal Adams. He put this loss squarely on the players for giving up too many big plays and for all the penalties, especially on the Titans’ final drive.

“It’s not,” Adams said, disputing that what occurred at the end of the game was the fault of Bowles and his staff. “It’s not. I’m not going to lie to you, but it bothers me that I keep hearing that, because it’s not their fault.

“As grown men, we get paid to play a kid’s game and we’re getting paid king’s money. We got to go out there and execute our job. All week they gave us the best game plan. All week. All week. We didn’t go out there and execute it to the end.”   

But if a team keeps making the same mistakes and keeps losing games, how is that not the fault of the coaches?

It is. Yes, the players are to blame, but the coaches will be the ones who end up taking the fall.

“I know what’s in here and I know what’s being taught and I know what’s being taught well,” Adams said. “Our fans are going to go at Bowles because he’s the head man. That’s just the nature of the business. But I believe in this coaching staff. We all do. We as players lost the game.”

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