Earlier in the week, the Sam Darnold is not that bad PR campaign began when Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey started making statements about his new QB.
“I think I’ve seen him grow in a lot of ways,” he told the media this week, via ESPN. “He’s a guy that approaches each day the exact same and continues to strive to get better.”
“So every day, every throw, as a leader, as a player, just kind of developing in the offense and learning the playbook and getting everything down, he’s just been very consistent. SoI think when you stack a bunch of consistent days on top of each other, that will ultimately create a lot of growth. And that’s what he’s done.”
“I saw like a new energy out of him, a glowing charisma that I didn’t really see in New York,” said Robby Anderson, who caught passes from Darnold with the Jets in 2018 and 2019.“
So yes it’s not surprising his teammates have Darnold’s back, but the question is Darnold so damaged from his time as a Jets QB that his Adam Gase-induced PTSD is so bad that he can never fully recover?
The reality is the Jets were a dumpster fire the past couple of years and yes this is an opportunity for him to salvage his career as a starter. Look Ryan Tannehill is a recent example of a QB who turned his career around with his move from the Dolphins to the Titans.
To be clear, Darnold has way more talent on paper than Tannehill, and if Darnold is going to turn things around we will know in the first 4 weeks of the upcoming season.
As we all know, mechanics matter, and while he has a tremendous amount of arm strength, his issues are with his feet. It’s easy to sit here and play the “if” game. If he fixes his foot mechanics he will be a Pro-Bowl caliber QB. If he no longer wakes up in the middle of the night with hot flashes, screaming Gase, then he will turn things around.
I suspect when you sit down to fill out your Pro-Bowl selections Darnold will not even be a consideration. But like Tannehill, stats will not tell the whole story and I predict Darnold will never live up to the hype and will basically turn into one of those good enough QB’s that gets paid $17 to $20 million a year to throw 25 TD’s, 15 interceptions, for 4,000 yards. And that my friends would be a successful career resurrection when you consider he has been forever tainted by the dark shadow of Adam Gase.