The New York Jets still haven’t named their starting quarterback for Week 1, but it appears they may go with their rookie first-round pick.
ESPN’s Rich Cimini reports that two players said that “the expectation in the locker room” is that Sam Darnold will beat out veterans Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater for the starting quarterback job.
Rookie Sam Darnold, who started the past two preseason games, is the heavy favorite. Two players told ESPN the expectation in the locker room is that Darnold will get the nod over incumbent Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater.
“You kind of know where the flow is going,” one player said.
Darnold — the No. 3 overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft — has completed 29-of-45 (64.4 %) of his passes for 244 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception, with an 83.9 passer rating this preseason. As Cimini notes, Darnold started the past two preseason games, so it’s not exactly shocking that he’s reportedly atop the depth chart.
The Jets are rebuilding and are expected to be bad this season (they come in at No. 31 on our power rankings), and there’s not much gained from starting Josh McCown or Teddy Bridgewater. It makes sense to accelerate Darnold’s development and not delay the inevitable.
Then again, it’s worth wondering if this is a good situation for Darnold to be thrown into. This is a lackluster supporting cast on offense and Darnold may not get too much help. The USC product had a massive turnover problem in college, with 22 interceptions and 21 fumbles in 27 starts. This is an area of concern for any rookie quarterback, and especially one with Darnold’s history. Add in the bad supporting cast and things could get ugly on that front.
But, it’s not like the Jets’ roster is going to improve (at least much) in-season, and you could argue that game reps outweigh the struggles when talking development anyway.
So, while nothing is official, it sure seems likely that Darnold will be the starting quarterback when the Jets open their season, and that will be on the road in Detroit for Monday Night Football against the Lions.