RICHMOND, Va. – New York Jets rookie Sam Darnold, who showed an impressive performance in the first preseason game, is ready to expand the quarter deep chart.
Coach Todd Bowles adjusted his rotation in a training Sunday with the Washington Redskins and gave Darnold the majority of the reruns for the first time – a sign that he could start against the Redskins at FedEx Field on Thursday night.
Bowles said he had not completed his quarterback plans for the game yet, but the schedule that went into the training camp was to give the first round in the draft pick the chance to play at least one preseason game.
Angry at what he thought was a cheap shot at a teammate during a training Sunday, Washington's Trent Williams pushed a jets player and a close combat ensued. "We responded how we reacted," Williams said.
"It's important that he works and deals with certain things the defense does," said Bowles. "This is more important than repetition with the first, second or third team."
Darnold called his premiere performance "a good little preseason debut". He completed 13 of 18 passes for 96 yards and a touchdown, led a touchdown drive in the two-minute practice at the end of the first half. He played with second and third stringers.
On Sunday, Darnold remained third in the rotation, behind Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater, but he received 12 first team reps, compared to seven for McCown and one for Bridgewater. All in all, Darnold took 20 of the 35 reps and also worked with the backups.
"No matter who I work with, Reps are always the key, but I think working with the first team makes me more familiar with these guys and they feel comfortable with me and my style of play," Darnold said of the rain-shortened ones Meeting with the Redskins.
The Jets follow the same script as last summer, when second-place quarterback Christian Hackenberg – a chance to win the job – started the second and third preseason games. McCown did not play in either match.
Hackenberg bombarded his audition, and so they started with McCown, 39, who had enjoyed a career start. Again he finds himself as a spectator.
"Like last year, I understand that ratings need to take place," McCown said. "I think they have a pretty good grip on who I am as a player and what they expect me to do, and whatever they decide, I understand completely."
McCown played only one series in the first game. Bridgewater (7-for-8, 85 yards, one touchdown pass) was keen in two series, giving the offensive a touchdown and a field goal in a 17-0 victory over the Atlanta Falcons.
"I would like to continue building on that," he said.
Meanwhile, Darnold enjoys the attention. In his hometown of San Clemente, California, his former high school sold Darnold Bobblehead dolls to raise funds for the football program.
"I saw it," said Darnold, laughing. "The hair on the Bobblehead actually looks a bit better than mine in real life, so I give them props … It's really cool to see the buzz that goes around, with all the bobbleheads drifting around town San Clemente. "