It was Sam Darnold’s first full practice at Florham Park yesterday as the rookie QB was out with his teammates from beginning to end, and was given a full series leading the offense at the end of practice, something he wasn’t given the chance to do in his first practice a few days ago. So how did he do? Let’s break it down.
Darnold threw an interception on his first pass attempt during his first live simulation. The ball looked ugly coming out and that was likely the result of a defender getting a hand on Darnold or the ball. With the pick coming so early in the drive, the Jets hit the reset button and started over again.
On his first throw after the INT, Darnold threw a dart to Chad Hansen in the middle of the field. It was a perfectly thrown ball that hit Hansen in stride. From there, Darnold went 4-6 but didn’t get in the end zone as his final pass was behind Chad Hansen. Darnold would say after practice that the errant throw was due to trying to change the location of the pass when the defender appeared to have properly read what was going to be a back shoulder throw. When was the last time the Jets heard a rookie quarterback talk about such an adjustment?
Darnold would misfire on a couple of balls and would have been intercepted by Derrick Jones if he’d gained control before stepping out. So Darnold wasn’t perfect, but there were definitely some more positives. When the protection held up Darnold didn’t stay locked on just one receiver. He was going through his reads and re-setting his feet before each throw, something Jets fans haven’t been accustomed to seeing from their young quarterbacks for quite some time.
The Jets staff also had Darnold doing his share of moving outside the pocket and as we saw consistently during his time at USC, that’s definitely a strength that will benefit him a great deal as a pro.
Who else stood out and why on day five? Here’s a quick rundown:
CB Derrick Jones: Jones has made a play or two every day since putting pads on. If Jones could begin to contribute at a starter level, it would be quite the coup for a former sixth-round project who played wide receiver and cornerback in college.
Isaiah Crowell: Crowell caught the ball extremely well throughout practice. It’s not something he’s know for, but it is something he’s proven he can do. Crowell did catch 40 passes with the Browns two seasons ago.
Chris Herndon and Neal Sterling: Pairing these two together because they’re both catching the ball well on a consistent basis and looking smooth doing it. If they continue to play this well, they’ll both make the roster.
Ben Braden: No word on whether or not there was an injury to Brian Winters, but Braden stepped in to play right guard with the first team for an extended period of time and definitely held his own. The undrafted free agent out of Michigan who spent last season on the practice squad is clearly doing something right.
Teddy Bridgewater: Could have been perspective, but Bridgewater looked to have more velocity on the ball than he has up to this point. Bridgewater impressed during the team’s 2-minute drill and we can’t recall seeing an incomplete pass while he was under center during the drill.
Steve McLendon: The team’s most underrated player had a very good practice, but the highlight was probably when the defense was playing sloppy and he pulled the whole group to the middle of the field and let them know, in no uncertain terms, that what they were doing was not going to cut it. The unit looked much better after the “pep talk”.
Terrence Brooks: The safety had an interception, continuing the strong camp that the back-ups in the group are having as a whole.
Another day in the books and some more progress for several foundation players moving forward. Friday night in Atlanta is going to be a good test for this group. Care to comment? Click here to check out our JetNation.com forums.