Adam Gase's Patience With Sam Darnold Beginning to Pay Off
Adam Gase never lost confidence in his young quarterback, not even after Sam Darnold strung together a series of underwhelming performances earlier this season. Now Gase is watching Darnold develop and progress, just in time to finish the season strong.
For the Jets (3-7), it has been a more difficult season than imagined. That Darnold missed a month of games starting in Week 2 following a diagnosis of mono certainly hurt the offense’s ability to gel and move forward as a unit after a promising preseason. Darnold finally looks sharp again, leading the Jets to consecutive wins over the past two weekends and throwing a career-high four touchdowns in a 34-17 win at Washington on Sunday.
It was Gase’s background as an offensive coordinator and an innovator that led him to be hired by the Jets this offseason as head coach to replace the defensive-minded Todd Bowles. Gase claims on his resume time spent with Peyton Manning, overseeing the future Hall of Fame quarterback’s best statistical season of his career.
In Darnold’s rise over recent weeks, the Jets have seen a step forward from a quarterback who has endured some difficulties this year. From the mono diagnosis to a poor offensive line, Darnold’s development has clearly been stunted and reflected in a series of ho-hum performances.
Ball security and poor decision making have typified the regression that was seen throughout much of the first half of the season.
Now in the last two weeks, however, the Jets are seeing signs of the pieces coming together.
“He’s done a good job of just focusing on one week at a time. If something bad happened the week before, the focus really for him has been fix it, make sure it doesn’t happen again or try to avoid that same mistake twice,” Gase told reporters on Friday during his daily press conference at the team facility.
“He does do a really good job of resetting and once we start talking about the next team, he just puts it in the past and doesn’t dwell on it.”
It doesn’t mean that Darnold has completely put together his pocket presence or that he isn’t prone to being reckless with the ball. But perhaps the ghosts of the early half of the season are fading away and the real promise shown as a rookie is emerging once again.
Darnold, for his part, was pretty unflappable during the Jets 1-7 start to the year when he was openly questioned by the media and fans about the lack of growth between his rookie season and the 2019 campaign.
For the most part, Darnold played it cool and talked about wanting to improve and get better. His focus was always on the next week, the next game.
It was never about anything he couldn’t control or anything beyond whoever was the next opponent on the schedule. Now after two strong games and a bit of momentum, Darnold’s tune is still the same as when the Jets were struggling.
“It's just about taking it one week at a time. If we do that, we have that mindset, then you can never get too high or too low, whether you win or you lose,” Darnold said. “If we truly, truly have the mindset of taking it one week at a time, it doesn't matter.”