Sam Darnold will be back in the starting lineup Sunday against the Buffalo Bills after missing two games with an injury to his throwing shoulder.
"Sam, things are trending in the right direction, hopefully barring any setbacks we’ll get him going on Sundays, this Sunday," Jets coach Adam Gase said Friday before practice. "We’ll roll him, he’ll be good."
The Jets (0-6) are desperate for a win, and backup Joe Flacco has been awful in his two starts in place of Darnold, throwing for just one touchdown and 397 yards while completing 52% of his passes.
Darnold, whom the Jets took with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2018 draft, wasn’t exactly spectacular before injuring his shoulder in the team’s Week 4 loss to the Denver Broncos. The 23-year-old has completed only 59% of his passes for 792 yards, three touchdowns and four interceptions.
Darnold still is complaining of some pain in his shoulder, which might make some question the team’s decision to play him. Gase, however, said he is not worried that Darnold could suffer further injury.
"I’m not worried about him re-hurting his shoulder or anything," Gase said. "He’s in pain. There’s a little bit of pain there for him, [but] he’s not complaining about it to the extent that we shouldn’t play him. He wants to play.
"The biggest thing we had to decide as a group is, is this the right thing to do? He wasn’t really looking to take ‘no’ for an answer . . . He wasn’t interested in us saying, ‘Hey, let’s take another week to rest.’ Everything says he’s good."
One sliver of good news for the Jets' offense is that they could have their starting receiving corps together on the field for the first time this season. Rookie Denzel Mims looks healthy and could make his NFL debut on Sunday, though he has yet to be activated.
"I feel like I can bring a lot of energy," Mims told reporters in a Zoom media conference call Friday. "I feel like I can make some plays for the team."
Mims, a second-round pick, suffered a hamstring injury in training camp and then another right before Week 1 that caused him to go on injured reserve. All told, he has had just five practices as a pro, but the team is anxious to see what he can bring to the table.
"He’s got incredible length, range, he can go up and get the ball, speed," Gase said earlier in the week. "He has all those traits that you’re looking for in a guy that can be a really good receiver."
Breshad Perriman returned last week from the ankle injury that cost him to sit out three games. Jamison Crowder officially is listed as questionable with a sore groin, though Gase said Friday that Crowder told him he would be fine for the game.
There was one more piece of good news for the worst offense in football: Rookie left tackle Mekhi Becton likely will return after missing two games with an injury to his left shoulder. The 6-foot, 364-pounder was the Jets’ No. 1 draft choice this year and is the largest man on the line.
"I feel like a little kid in a candy store," Becton said when asked if he was excited to play. Becton then laughed. "Big kid," he added "Big little kid."