Sam Darnold’s right shoulder is still hampering him, and likely will force him out of Monday Night's game against the Patriots.
Darnold did not practice on Saturday and is officially listed as doubtful for the game against the Jets’ AFC East rivals with soreness in his throwing shoulder. Veteran quarterback Joe Flacco will get the start.
Adam Gase had sounded optimistic all week that Darnold would be able to play, even after he sat out of practice Thursday. Darnold was limited on Friday, but he didn’t feel right making some throws. He told the coaches and medical staff, and they decided that the best thing would be to rest it.
"He felt like there were some throws that he wasn’t comfortable with that when he threw them, he didn’t feel like he got the right velocity he wanted on the ball," Gase said on a Zoom call Saturday afternoon. "It was more him communicating to us that it didn’t feel the way that he felt it should.
"I’m glad that he did that. We needed that communication back. I know it’s devastating for him because he’s always been able to throw the ball the way he feels he needed to. I think yesterday was the first time that he felt it did not feel the way that he wanted to heading into the game."
Giving Darnold this game off seemed the most prudent thing all along, but he wanted to play. The Jets are 0-8 and playing for draft position at this point. This is their last game before their bye week so it will give Darnold additional time to rest.
"That was kind of where my brain went – this could help him," Gase said. "I don’t think he was thinking that. He was just being honest with us that, ‘I don’t feel the way I felt the last time I was getting ready,’ when he was coming back from this."
Darnold missed two games earlier this season after spraining his right AC joint. He re-aggravated it last Sunday in the Jets’ 35-9 loss to Kansas City. Darnold was running to try and get a first down, and he took a hard hit. He admitted later he should have slid.
Following the game, Darnold had an MRI on his shoulder. It revealed no further damage or that there was anything structurally wrong. Gase said he hasn’t been told that this is anything that will require surgery or keep Darnold out an extended period.
"I asked the exact same question," Gase said. "The answer I got was he’s not going to go this week. We’ll talk about that when we hit the bye week."
Gase said he didn’t think Darnold would need to undergo another MRI, but the Jets will continue to evaluate his shoulder.
"We’re going to look at everything," he said. "We’re going to make sure that next time he steps out there we’ll feel really good about it."
Flacco started the two games that Darnold missed, and actually was the last Jets’ quarterback to throw a touchdown pass. That came in Week 5 against Arizona. Yes, it’s been three games since the Jets have had a passing touchdown. They’ve only scored two offensive touchdowns in the last three games.
But Flacco, who missed training camp rehabbing from neck surgery, took most of the reps this week. He feels more comfortable with the offense now than he did the last time he started.
"Definitely a lot more than I was a few weeks ago," Flacco said. "I feel comfortable with all the guys. I feel comfortable being in the huddle. Just in terms of me feeling comfortable with the game overall, I’ve gotten out there and played again. I’ve gotten my feet wet. I feel really good going into the game."