Trevor Siemian doesn’t seem fazed by what’s going on around him.
Siemian is very calm in the face of a huge storm, showing the right demeanor for a quarterback who suddenly has so much riding on his right arm.
When Sam Darnold contracted mono, which will sideline him indefinitely, everyone kissed the Jets’ season goodbye. The reality is that many did that after a season-opening one-point loss to Buffalo in which they blew a 16-point lead.
The perception is the sky is falling on the Jets again. The cursed franchise will have another really bad season. The injuries are piling up. The schedule only gets tougher, and now Darnold is out.
It’s your ball, Trevor. Go beat the Browns on Monday night and save the Jets’ season.
The backup quarterback suddenly has become a central figure for the Jets, but he’s not rattled, and for good reason. He’s not a rookie. This isn’t the first time he has replaced the face of a franchise.
When he was in Denver, Siemian replaced one of the faces of the league. He became the Broncos’ starting quarterback in 2016, the season after Peyton Manning retired following a Super Bowl victory. That’s some serious pressure. But Siemian handled it well, and the Jets expect the same now.
“Being with him since we started in the spring, the way he’s practiced, the way he’s prepared, the way he is, nothing really bothers him,” Adam Gase said. “He’s got a good way about him.
“Watching him prepare and practice and seeing what he did [this week], getting thrown in with the ones, his calmness, I think it’s great for our other players because he’s not a panic guy. He’s got a coolness about him. When things change at that position, other guys can panic a little bit. When you got a guy that’s really calm and steady, that calms everybody else down.”
The Jets think they’re in good hands with Siemian, 27. One player said he liked the Siemian signing because it basically gave the Jets two starting quarterbacks.
Siemian has 24 career starts, all for the Broncos. He’s 13-11 in those games, with 28 touchdown passes and 24 interceptions. He spent last season in Minnesota, serving as Kirk Cousins’ backup, and didn’t take a single snap. Siemian’s last regular-season start and action was Dec. 14, 2017 with Denver.
“I don’t know what I can take from that,” he said. “I played, so I guess the sense that I’ve been there and I’ve done that. I’m chomping at the bit to compete, be out there with the guys. I feel comfortable.”
Now Siemian will get another chance to show he can lead a team.
Darnold is expected to miss multiple weeks. The Jets play in New England next week, have their bye the following week and then are at Philadelphia. Depending on how quickly Darnold recovers, Siemian could start all of those games. If he puts some good performances on tape, there could be a market for him in the offseason in a bigger role for another team.
“I have a tremendous amount of confidence in Trevor,” offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains said. “He has really good command. He has a good presence in the huddle. He’s an accurate guy. The experience is a big deal.
“When you come in, when you’re the backup, you have to get ready to play without a lot of reps. Trevor’s smart. His intelligence helps him do that. I’m excited to see Monday night, what he can do.”
Siemian was someone who began popping on Gase’s radar — and screen — during his game prep when he was the Dolphins’ coach.
Gase said that when he watched tape of his next opponent, many times that team was playing Denver and Siemian caught his eye. When Siemian became available this past offseason, Gase wanted him as Darnold’s backup.
“I kept seeing him play a lot and in my head I kept saying, ‘Wow, this guy really throws a nice ball. He gets it out and it comes out clean,’” Gase said. “It just seemed like the more film I watched on him and then when we started evaluating him, I really liked him.”
Gase was Manning’s quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator in Denver, but he was gone by the time they drafted Siemian. There was some carryover from the Gase years, though. Denver kept some of the plays and Siemian observed Manning running them in 2015.
Siemian knows all the plays now, and he said his teammates will ease this transition.
Le’Veon Bell will play after a minor shoulder scare. Bell and slot receiver Jamison Crowder, who caught 14 passes last week, are a quarterback’s friend. The offensive line will look to bounce back after a rough first game. Robby Anderson will, too, after Gase criticized him without ever mentioning his name for not running harder.
“We have so many talented players that I’m going to lean on,” Siemian said. “I’ve got to run the show and put the ball in the end zone. But it makes my job easier leaning on these guys.”
The Jets have added Demaryius Thomas, a favorite target of Siemian’s in Denver. Siemian joked with Gase and Loggains that he was ''going to get emotional” when he sees him at practice. But Siemian turned serious when talking about how the Jets will overcome adversity.
“I’m not worried,” he said. “We got such a mentally tough team and so many good players. These guys are built for this. We’re going to have injuries this year. That’s just the nature of it. This team’s built to handle it.”