The Jets will have their third different starting quarterback in three games, but there is finally a timetable for Sam Darnold’s return from mono.
Luke Falk will start this Sunday’s game in New England, the Jets’ last game before their bye week. Darnold said the goal is for him to play the next game after that.
“Hopefully for me I’ll be able to recuperate and get back out after it and work out a little bit,” Darnold said Tuesday during his weekly spot on ESPN Radio. “The goal is to be back against Philly in Week 5. That’s the goal for me and that’s what the doctors are estimating.”
Darnold was back in the Jets’ facility Tuesday for the first time since he was sent home sick last Wednesday. He said he still can’t do anything “to get my blood pressure up.” But he’s not contagious. Darnold can sit in meetings and be around the team.
He spent Monday night watching the Jets’ 23-3 loss to the Browns on television. He said it was “frustrating” and upsetting when he saw backup Trevor Siemian suffer a season-ending ankle injury that will require surgery.
“I had a little episode,” Darnold said. “I went in the room and started screaming into a pillow and was punching my pillow as hard as I can. It was tough.”
Gase announced on a conference call that Siemian has ligament damage in his ankle and his season is over. He also named Falk, the Jets’ No. 3 quarterback, the starter.
“Luke will be the starter until Sam gets back,” Gase said.
The 0-2 Jets are in the process of figuring out who they want to sign as a backup and for insurance. If Falk would have gotten injured in Monday’s 23-3 defeat, Le’Veon Bell was next in line to play quarterback.
Gase said he and general manager Joe Douglas tossed around some names. Gase wants someone who is familiar with his system, so he can step on Sunday if anything happens to Falk. Two possibilities are Brock Osweiler and David Fales.
Both played for Gase previously when he was the coach with the Dolphins and both are free agents. Osweiler also was with Gase in Denver when he was the quarterback coach and offensive coordinator.
“We’re trying to figure out what’s best for us, especially for this game, this week,” Gase said. “We’re in that process right now. We will have to at least have an answer sometime soon.”
Falk came in and made his NFL debut after the Jets signed him earlier Monday from the practice squad. He completed 20-of-25 passes for 198 yards. Falk was with Gase in Miami last season and spent the year on the practice squad.
Darnold’s improved health is encouraging news for a team that desperately needs some.
He said he had a really tough four-day stretch, and he had strep throat and mono at the same time. But Darnold sounded confident that his strength and conditioning would be fine when he’s able to return. Darnold said his appetite is back. He’s only lost two pounds.
“I’m almost back to normal,” he said. “Just having my appetite back is the best thing for me. I’m going to find ways to continue to build muscle and just keep the weight on.”
He admitted that he started feeling ill a few days before the Jets’ season-opening 17-16 loss to the Bills. Darnold wasn’t sharp that game. He was 28-for-41 for 175 yards and one touchdown.
“I definitely wasn’t feeling 100 %,” Darnold said. “A couple of nights before the game I had a really bad night’s sleep waking up three or four times with cold sweats. During the game with adrenaline you could mask it. I was probably 80 or 85% at that point.
“After the game my body just started to shut down.”
Darnold hopes he can at least start to throw a football, but he said he hasn’t asked yet.
The Jets also could be without outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins in New England. He suffered a calf injury and was limping noticeably when he left the locker room. Gase said Jenkins is week-to-week. Gase used the same classification for receiver Demaryius Thomas, who is dealing with knee and hamstring issues.
C.J. Mosley (groin) and Quinnen Williams (ankle) could return Sunday. Neither of them played Monday night, and both are day-to-day.