Sam Darnold is excited about meeting the Jets’ new coach in person and picking his brain.
Not just him, the other one, too.
Working with Adam Gase has Darnold fired up, and he can’t wait to get in the same room with him. But the quarterback also wants to see what defensive coordinator Gregg Williams has to say about his game.
One of Darnold’s worst performances of his rookie season came against the Browns and Williams’ defense. Darnold threw for only 169 yards, was intercepted twice and was sacked twice in a 21-17 loss in Week 3.
“He was definitely tough to face,” Darnold told Newsday in a phone interview Thursday. “I’m really looking forward to seeing what he has to say about the way I play and how he attacked me as a quarterback. There are some things I had trouble with in that game. I’d be interested to see where my weaknesses are.”
Darnold is back in Southern California, working with Panini America and speaking to players in the Collegiate Bowl about preparing for the Combine and life in the NFL.
He also is glued to the playoffs, wishing he were playing in them. But he thinks the Jets are not far off from playing deep into January. Darnold believes the pairing of Gase and Williams — both aggressive play-callers — will be beneficial not only for him but for the Jets.
“There’s a lot of excitement around our locker room and around this organization right now,” Darnold said. “I think it’s going to be a really exciting year. Hopefully, there’s going to be a ton of wins coming our way.”
It is a critical offseason for the Jets, who have missed the playoffs for eight straight years.
They have the No. 3 draft pick — they likely will select a defensive player Williams can mold — plus about $100 million to spend in free agency. They have numerous areas of need — running back, wide receiver, offensive line, edge rusher and secondary. But the Jets believe they are set at quarterback and have a coach who can bring out the best in Darnold. He feels the same.
“I think the stuff that Coach Gase does is amazing,” Darnold said. “The scheme that he’s able to create and to be able to put the defense in uncomfortable positions, which he does a lot, I think it is awesome and shows a lot about his creativity and his offensive mind.
“I’m really excited about working with him and getting with him as soon as possible. I think he’s going to help me with everything, mechanics, but mainly how to play the position in the NFL.
“I learned a lot this year. Especially the last few games, I felt I grew a ton. I definitely feel that Coach Gase is going to help me a ton.’’
Darnold is enjoying getting some physical and mental rest, but he said he’s also watching video of himself as well as of Gase’s offenses. He also plans to contact some of the quarterbacks who have worked with and grown under Gase and will talk to them about him.
Darnold talked to Gase during the interview process, and was extremely happy that team officials included him in the coaching search. He believes they got the right man.
“It meant the world, just to be able to be a part of it and talk to coaches and understand exactly which guys might fit best in terms of what we’re looking for as a coach and more so of what their mindset is in building a culture and a team,” Darnold said. “That’s something really important to me and all the guys. But also trying to find the offensive guy who’s going to build this team and build this offense.
“Coach Gase’s passion for the game is contagious and going to rub off on a lot of the guys. I think Jets fans can expect a lot of wins and a lot of points being scored.”