Jets OC Jeremy Bates Says Sam Darnold 'Hasn't Flinched,' Could Start Week 1

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJune 13, 2018

FLORHAM PARK, NJ - JUNE 13: Quarterback Sam Darnold #14 of the New York Jets during team drills at mandatory mini camp on June 13, 2018 at The Atlantic Health Jets Training Center in Florham Park, New Jersey. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
Mark Brown/Getty Images

The New York Jets drafted Sam Darnold with the No. 3 overall pick to make him the quarterback of the future, but he has a chance to be a starter right out of the gate this season.

As offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates explained Wednesday, it will be up to Darnold's ability to learn the offense.

"Are we giving him bits and pieces of the offense or are we throwing everything at him? We're throwing everything at him," Bates said, per Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. "If he can handle it, if he can prove that he's the starter, then that will take place when the time comes."

Head coach Todd Bowles indicated in May that Josh McCown is projected to be the starter to begin the year but Darnold will have a chance to win the job in the preseason, per Dianna Russini of ESPN.

McCown will be 39 years old at the start of next season, but he was the starter for 13 games last season and is familiar with the offense. He also has plenty of experience, spending 15 years in the NFL.

Meanwhile, Teddy Bridgewater will also compete for the starting job after signing with the Jets in the offseason.

The quarterback room has at least gotten less crowded over the past couple of months. Bryce Petty was released, and Christian Hackenberg was traded to the Oakland Raiders, who then released him.

This leaves just three options for the starting job, and the Jets aren't going to waste their time coddling Darnold during training camp.

"If you treat them like a rookie, they'll become a rookie," Bates said. "So we threw the whole book at him to see what he can handle and what he needs to work on—just like the other two—and he's done a really good job. Ever since rookie camp, he hasn't flinched."

With three months until the season opener on Sept. 10 against the Detroit Lions, the rookie should have plenty of opportunity to prove himself.

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