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There is more to it than that.
I can’t tell you how many national pundits I’ve heard say that Sam Darnold’s issue is that he doesn’t have enough weapons. I keep hearing this over and over.
That really isn’t the issue.
That is a cookbook or fortune cookie answer to what’s been going on the last few years with the Jets’ passing attack.
Did the Jets have the best weapons in the NFL the last few years? Obviously not. Were there some games along the way where they were undermanned due to injuries? Yes. But what team doesn’t go through that in NFL, a league with the highest injury rate of any sport?
“Quarterbacks make receivers, receivers don’t make quarterbacks.”
A coach told me that a long time ago.
No matter what weapons you add, whether is a high-priced free agent or a first-round pick, it’s not going to make the QB read defenses better, go through his progressions better, and become a full field reader.
Sorry folks, it just doesn’t work that way.
Either you can read defenses or you can’t, and it has little to do with the weapons.
Think about it. If a QB has three or four top-shelf weapons, but is constantly fixated on his first read, what difference doesn’t it make that he has three or four elite weapons, if he’s only looking at one guy on a given play?
What Joe Douglas and Robert Saleh need to determine is if Darnold’s ability to read defenses and go through his progressions efficiently is ever going to change, or it’s settled science.
Pro Football Hall of Famer, Gil Brandt, who worked in player personnel for the Dallas Cowboys from 1960-88, said this early in the 2020 season:
“Here is the thing – the scouting report on him as a quarterback (coming out of college) was it was hard for him to read defenses and it kind of played out when USC played Ohio State in the Cotton Bowl, when he was sacked like 8 times,” said Brandt on SiriusXM NFL Radio after the Jets-Denver game. “I know there were some times [against Denver] when it looked like he had somebody open, but never looked for the second or third receiver. If it wasn’t going to be the primary receiver, he was going to get sacked or take off and run.
“I don’t think there is a question [Darnold’s] got a good arm and I think he’s is smart, but sometimes people just can’t read defenses and it’s some [good quarterbacks]. It’s a talent some people possess and other people don’t. It’s like calling plays. Some people are good play-callers and some people are just as a smart, but there not good play-callers. Andy Reid is a great play-caller. Then there are coaches who are just as smart as Andy, but they are not great play-callers.”
So the bottom line is you take the “weapons lobby” with a grain of salt. And over the second half of the season, Darnold had Denzel Mims, Breshard Perriman, Jamison Crowder, and Chris Herndon, who broke out of his slump at that point. Is that no weapons?
Should the Jets add some weapons in free agency and the draft this off-season? Absolutely.
Will that help Darnold see the field better?
It often doesn’t work that way.
February 5, 2021
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