FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – Sam Darnold just missed some of his receivers on what would have been big-chunk plays Sunday. He believes he’ll be hitting them soon.
The Jets rookie quarterback is confident in his ability to fix his mistakes, and focused on finding the chemistry he needs with teammates. But it has been rough for Darnold and the 1-3 Jets.
Darnold is only 32-for-65 for 338 yards, two touchdowns and one interception in his last two games, a 68.6 passer rating. You can chalk up some of this to normal rookie growing pains, and Darnold is. But he’s also convinced the Jets will start clicking soon.
“As a team I feel like we’re really close,” Darnold said after practice Wednesday. “For me personally, I feel like I’m just on the edge. I got to continue to find completions, hitting my guys deep when they’re there. It’ll come. It’s just a timing thing. It’s going to click one of these games, I know it is. I’m kind of waiting on that opportunity.”
The opportunity is in front of him as the Jets will play their next three games at home. They host Denver (2-2) Sunday, looking to snap a three-game losing streak.
The Broncos are not an easy defense, especially with Von Miller’s ability to pressure the quarterback. But this is part of Darnold’s maturation, too, seeing different defenses and adjusting. Last week, it was Jacksonville, one of the best and most complete defenses in the league. Darnold had his chances for some plays down the field, but he overthrew Robby Anderson, Bilal Powell and Quincy Enunwa at critical points when they were open.
“It can be frustrating on the field to just be a foot away from hitting Robby or inches away from hitting BP on a go [route],” Darnold said. “At the same time, I got to understand it’s part of the deal and it’s part of what you go through as a rookie quarterback coming in to a new team, just figuring out the guys.
“During the game, I just got to move on. Next-play mentality. To be overthrowing those guys, it’s not a great feeling when it happens. You just got to move on. When we watch the film, I can’t do anything different. I got to continue to get the reps and continue with those guys in practice because we’ll start connecting.”
Denver is coming off a tough loss in which a really quick and fire-throwing quarterback, Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes, led a late, game-winning touchdown drive.
The Broncos are concerned with Darnold’s arm strength and mobility. On a conference call with Jets reporters Wednesday, Miller praised Darnold, saying he thought he was the best offensive player in the draft and should have been the No. 1 pick.
Darnold appreciated the compliment, but he’s more concerned with getting the offense going.
“It’s a good feeling,” Darnold said, “but at the same time I’m not worried about that. I got a lot going on in my life with football and everything in terms of running the plays, executing, being on the same page with everyone on the offense. There’s a lot going on in my world.”