Sam Darnold already is getting "the jitters."
Darnold said after some team meetings Monday and watching tape of the Bills over the weekend it started to feel like a game week. The Jets open up the season Sunday at home against Buffalo. Darnold has the usual nervous anxiety, but looking at the team and Adam Gase’s system he is sky high. Darnold expects the offense to be “electric.”
“I think we are going to do some fun things out there with all the tempo and all the different things we can do,” he said. “It will be fun, it will be fun to watch us and hopefully we are going to put up a lot of points.”
The Jets hired Gase to be their coach because of his background with quarterbacks and experience on offense. They want to compete in the modern NFL, in which11 teams averaged more than 25 points per game in 2018. The Jets scored fewer than 25 points 11 times last season and ranked 23rd overall (20.8).
The last time the Jets finished in the top 10 in scoring was under Eric Mangini in 2008, when Brett Favre was their quarterback. They averaged 25.3 points per game.
Gase was the offensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos in 2013 when they set an NFL record for points per game (37.9) and touchdowns by a quarterback. Peyton Manning threw 55 that season. There was nowhere for Gase’s offense to go but down from there, and it has.
It was hardly electric in Gase’s three season as the Dolphins' coach. Miami averaged 17.6 and 19.9 points the past two years. Injuries and personnel played a big part in that.
All the talk during this preseason and training camp is how wide open the Jets offense is and will be, and that Gase will continue to add to the playbook as the players pick up things.
Darnold led touchdown drives on the Jets’ opening possession in the first two preseason games. He was 17-for-25 for 211 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions and had a passer rating of 120.6 — and this was without Le’Veon Bell. The Jets are looking forward to unleashing him for the first time in the opener, which will make the offense more dynamic and difficult to defend.
“He can only help us,” Darnold said. “He's such a talent, what he can do not only running the ball, but also catching the ball out of the backfield, lining up wide and running some routes. So I'm excited to see him live in a game and I know a lot of the guys are as well.”
Still, the Jets could be a work-in-progress with so many new faces on offense, and learning a new system. Darnold said he doesn’t expect growing pains, but they will work through them if they arise.
“If there are we are just going to roll with them,” he said. “If something happens during the course of a series, I might go to the sideline and tell Gase how I'm feeling back there, how the defense is responding and all that. So we are just going to try and figure things out, but right now, especially we have a really good foundation for where we want to go.”
Jets name Elhai president. The Jets have new leadership on their business side. Hymie Elhai was promoted to team president, replacing Neil Glat, who stepped down last week and is transitioning into a new role as senior adviser.
Elhai, who started as an intern with the Jets, is in his 20th season with the organization. He served as the team’s senior vice president and general counsel before being elevated to his current role. Elhai will report to Jets chairman and CEO Christopher Johnson and oversee all team business operations. Elhai also will work with Gase and general manager Joe Douglas “to integrate football and business operations.” Elhai took part in the Jets' coaching and GM searches.
The Jets also promoted Brian Friedman to executive vice president and chief operating officer. He had been the team’s senior vice president and chief financial officer.