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Bills games give Jets a way to measure Darnold's progress

Sam Darnold #14, Alex Lewis #71 and Kelvin

Sam Darnold #14, Alex Lewis #71 and Kelvin Beachum #68 of the Jets line up in the first half against the Pittsburgh Steelers at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019. Credit: Jim McIsaac

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Sam Darnold will play the same number of games this season as he did his rookie year, and his numbers should be better across the board.

But Dowell Loggains won’t evaluate Darnold based on that. Loggains, the Jets’ offensive coordinator and quarterback coach, will see if Darnold has progressed from Week 1 to Week 17.

It just so happens that in Sunday’s season finale, the Jets will be playing the Bills, the team against whom they opened the season. Although Buffalo won’t do the same things as in Week 1, Loggains said the Jets will be able to evaluate Darnold’s evolution and see how far he’s come and where he needs the most improvement.

“It’s a good test to see how he grew the first time we played them to the second time,” Loggains said. “It’s going to be an awesome challenge, and we’re going to see a lot.

“Being able to watch and see how much he’s grown from Point A to Point B throughout the season is seeing how close we are to maxing his talent, maxing his potential, the things we still need to get better on week in and week out.”

In that first game, Darnold threw for 175 yards and a touchdown in a one-point loss to the Bills. They were the second-fewest yards that he threw for in 12 games. He then missed the next three games because of mononucleosis.

Another line change

Left guard Alex Lewis didn’t practice Thursday because of an ankle injury. Unless he recovers quickly, the Jets could be starting their ninth offensive line combination. Brent Qvale, the next man up, would be their 11th starting lineman this season

. . .  Robby Anderson has been experiencing leg tightness and was limited in practice. Tom Compton (calf) and Demaryius Thomas (hamstring) did not practice . . . Brian Poole was a surprise on the injury report. He was limited because of an ankle injury that he might have suffered during practice.

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