The Giants don’t have to dig too deep in the film vault to find examples of how defenses have made Jets quarterback Sam Darnold uncomfortable and ineffective. The last three opponents -- the Patriots, Jaguars, and Dolphins – all have baffled the second-year signal-caller into a combined eight interceptions, two fumbles, and 12 sacks.
“He’s definitely had his struggles,” Giants linebacker Alec Ogletree told Newsday. “Guys have done different things to him to try to create that confusion. You want to do that with every quarterback. As a defense, you definitely like to see that. It gives you opportunity to create that pressure and hopefully he makes a bad throw or something and you get a turnover or something.”
Darnold’s downward slide began with the game against the Patriots when he admitted to seeing “ghosts” in the coverage. Since then, opposing teams have been able to play mind games with him by disguising their coverages and manipulating his progressions.
“A little bit of confusion there, sending some pressure his way and getting him off his reads,” Giants safety Antoine Bethea told Newsday. “They’re going after him. They’re giving him different looks and making him face some things post-snap and helping the defense.”
Confusion in the Giants secondary is nothing new. In recent games, it’s been the Giants’ defensive backs who have looked disoriented. But the two veteran captains, Ogletree and Bethea, both said the Giants can steal some of the sleight-of-hand tactics from previous Jets opponents and combine them with their own scheme to keep Darnold off-balance.
“We definitely have the ability to do stuff like that as well and hopefully this week we can create some more turnovers for him,” Ogletree said. “It’s about making him uncomfortable, making him make bad reads and bad throws.”
Ogletree said such observations are no lack of respect.
“We know if he gets going he can definitely play,” he said.
Their goal will be to prevent Darnold from getting better on their watch.