Jets' Sam Darnold Doubtful For Monday Night; Joe Flacco Expected to Start

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Sam Darnold's right shoulder injury will keep him sidelined once again this season.

Jets head coach Adam Gase told reporters Saturday afternoon that Darnold is now doubtful to play on Monday night against the Patriots after aggravating a preexisting injury in his throwing shoulder.

Joe Flacco is expected to start in Darnold's place "unless something strange happens," Gase said. 

Darnold, who sprained an AC joint in his right shoulder on Oct. 1, was feeling sore after a hit in Sunday's loss to the Chiefs. The quarterback had an MRI earlier in the week revealing no further damage.

It will be the veteran quarterback's third start this season. Gase revealed that Flacco has been taking reps with the first team during practice throughout the week and will take all first-team reps on Saturday.

After he was limited in practice on Friday, Darnold will sit out of practice Saturday. With a bye week to come after Monday's matchup with New England, this gives Darnold more time to rest, making sure the 23-year-old isn't put in a position where he could do more damage. 

"We're going to look at everything," Gase said. "We'll have more time with the bye week, we'll go through everything. We're gonna make sure that next time he steps out there we feel really good about it."

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Gase had explained earlier in the week that a decision on whether or not Darnold will play will be determined by how he feels throwing the football as the week progressed. The head coach said Saturday that Darnold communicated with the coaching staff that he was having issues throwing and the ball wasn't coming out as normal. 

"As practice went on, he felt like there were some throws that he wasn't comfortable with," Gase said on Zoom Saturday afternoon. "That when he threw them, he didn't feel like either he got the right velocity he wanted on the ball, whether it was the arc and pace that he was looking to get didn't occur.

"I know it's devastating for him because he's always been able to throw the ball the way that he feels he needed to and I think yesterday was the first time that he felt it did not feel the way that he wanted to heading to this game."

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In his two starts this season, against Arizona and Miami, Flacco is 0-2 with 381 yards. He's gone 39-for-77 through the air, completing just 50.65 percent of his passes. 

Now, he'll be tasked with preventing the first 0-9 start in Jets franchise history.

"I think he's handled it phenomenally," Flacco said on Saturday about Darnold and his injury. "I think he's an awesome kid with a lot of talents so I think he's done the best he could possibly do. I think he's got a good head on his shoulders and knows how to weather the storm a little bit and stay positive and continue to go out there and take it play by play game, game by game. That's all you can do."

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