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That was not the problem.
And obviously Joe Douglas knows it.
So many people are pitching this narrative, and I’m sorry, I just don’t subscribe to it.
The latest is Sam Darnold’s high school coach.
“[The trade] is a good move for both the Jets’ franchise and for Sam personally,” San Clemente High School coach Jaime Ortiz told ESPN’s Rich Cimini. “Both get a clean break and a fresh start. I just hope, with all of the draft picks, the Jets can finally surround a young QB such as [Zach] Wilson or [Justin] Fields with the talent needed to be successful in the NFL.”
I agree with the “clean break” and “fresh start” parts of the statement, but not the final sentence. Most of Darnold’s issues with the Jets weren’t related to the talent around, but more so, the quarterback not seeing the field well.
Were there times over his three years where his supporting cast was average? Of course.
But that wasn’t what held him back most of his time with the Jets.
You see, if you are mostly fixated on your first read, what difference does it really make who weapons 2, 3 and 4 are?
Like on the pick in the third quarter of the Jets’ season finale against New England, when he Darnold threw into triple coverage on the right side, with a receiver wide open on the left side.
He also had a pick in the fourth quarter where he stared down his primary receiver, and this drew a second DB to the area, who picked off Darnold in the end zone.
In that game, Darnold had a nice assortment of weapons, with all the team’s key weapons from 2021 healthy – receivers Jamison Crowder, Denzel Mims and Breshad Perriman, along with tight end Chris Herndon (who was playing much better at this point).
The people who keep pushing the surrounding cast stuff are taking a myopic view of what took place with this quarterback over his three years in Florham Park. His issues were more related to field vision and going through progressions.
And clearly Douglas and Saleh are somewhat cognizant of that, because if they thought the issue was strictly related to supporting cast, they would have kept the QB, and improved the supporting cast.
Carolina coach Matt Rhule said on Monday:
“I don’t think there’s a game that you watch where he doesn’t make a play that makes you say ‘There it is,'” Rhule said. “I think his arm talent and his movement are a great fit for the players that we have here that he’ll be playing with.”
Rhule is right, there were always “there it is” plays in every game, but in-between those highlight film plays, was wild inconsistency, and that is why the Jets moved on. Those “there it is” plays happened, but not enough.
And why are his “arm talent and movement” a “great fit” for Carolina’s “players” and not the Jets?
I’d say the answer to that is simple – Carolina just traded for him. That is why.
The key to this is Panthers offensive coordinator Joe Brady. He’s considered a rising star and future NFL head coach. He did an amazing job as offensive coordinator of LSU during their national championship season two years ago with QB Joe Burrow.
If Brady can consistently dial up brilliant first-reads for Darnold this could work out okay for Carolina.
You dial up great first reads, and this QB can make a lot of plays.
But please, chill out with this weapons stuff.
For the most part, that isn’t what held him back in New York.
April 12. 2021
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