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Jets Rumors: Rookie Sam Darnold 'Trending Toward' Opening Season as Starting QB

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistAugust 19, 2018

New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) looks to pass the ball during the first half of a preseason NFL football game against the Washington Redskins, Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Alex Brandon/Associated Press

Rookie quarterback Sam Darnold is reportedly "trending toward" becoming the Week 1 starter for the New York Jets.

Rich Cimini of ESPN suggested as much, noting Darnold received most of the practice reps and will likely be under center for the season opener instead of Teddy Bridgewater and Josh McCown as long as there is no "regression" in Friday's preseason contest against the New York Giants.

Darnold attempted 18 passes in the preseason opener against the Atlanta Falcons, which was nine more than Bridgewater and McCown combined. Then, McCown didn't even see the field in the second preseason contest against Washington, while Bridgewater attempted 15 passes to Darnold's 11.

The USC product was 21-of-29 passing for 158 yards, one touchdown and one interception in those two contests and has flashed the potential that enticed the Jets to draft him with the No. 3 overall pick and some of the expected growing pains of an NFL rookie.

Head coach Todd Bowles didn't offer much clarity after the second preseason game when he said, per Neil Best of Newsday, "It's already been cloudy. That's never changed…It's a tough choice. I have two more games to play. We'll go from there."

This is a Jets franchise that has gone 5-11 in each of the last two seasons and hasn't reached the playoffs since the 2010 campaign. The 2018 season isn't exactly a win-now one for this rebuilding club, and starting Darnold in the season opener against the Detroit Lions would give him the opportunity to garner critical experience early in his career.

The hope in New York is he eventually develops into a franchise signal-caller, and he is apparently on track to start the process in the first game of his rookie season.

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