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I found this back-and-forth pretty intriguing.
Talking about Robert Saleh being asked a bunch of questions today in his presser about the decision to move on from Sam Darnold.
The first question was from the AP’s Dennis Waszak about the evaluation process that went into the decision.
Saleh praised Darnold for most of the answer, but it was the last line that kind of caught my attention.
“He’s a very talented quarterback, he’s a very talented young man and he’s someone who just needed an opportunity to showcase who he is and prove that he’s worthy of what he was drafted at,” Saleh said.
Very diplomatic way of the coach saying Darnold needed a change of scenery and obviously hasn’t lived up to being the third pick overall.
Obviously, when you were the lowest rated pass for the last three seasons combined, you haven’t lived up to being picked that high. That shouldn’t even be considered an ad hominem attack on the player, just the reality of the situation.
I’ve used this quote before, and I think it sums up the situation best:
“I think Sam Darnold going somewhere else, and starting fresh, is probably the best thing for him,” CBS’ Jay Feely said during the second half of the Jets 40-3 loss to Seattle in December, 2020.
In a follow-up question, the reporter asked if the contract situation was a factor. The last line of the answer was once again the best part of the quote.
“Throughout that entire process, with all the different discussions and all the different evaluations we had, we felt like this was the best decision,” Saleh said.
So in other words, the contract wasn’t the only reason, but a factor. Darnold was entering the last year of his rookie deal, and a decision had to be made about his fifth-year option. The Panthers picked up the fifth-year option, a very risky decision based on the player’s body of work. Clearly the Jets were hesitant to go there.
One last question on the subject was from ESPN’s Rich Cimini pertaining to how the decision to trade Darnold and draft Zach Wilson has worked out. Let’s go to the last line of his answer once again.
“I think it would have been fine, in either direction,” Saleh said. “Whether we have Zach at the reins, whether we had Sam, it didn’t really matter to us. It’s about process, it’s about the organization, it’s about trying to get an entire team ready to play a football game.”
This answer is something you say the week before facing another team and the player you traded to them. I don’t buy this answer, but I totally understand why Saleh said it. You don’t want to provide bulletin board fodder for an opponent, and you don’t want to insult the player who was traded. I don’t buy that the Jets felt it didn’t matter whether they had Darnold or Wilson at the reins, but what do you expect Saleh to say before facing the player. If you totally buy into this answer, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.
September 8, 2021
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