Sam Darnold 'Pumped' About Adam Gase Becoming Jets Head Coach

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJanuary 10, 2019

New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold talks to reporters in the locker room in Florham Park, N.J., Monday, Dec. 31, 2018. The search for a new coach has begun for the New York Jets. After firing Todd Bowles on Sunday night, the team is focused on bringing in someone who will be able to lead a franchise that has missed the playoffs for eight straight seasons but has a promising young quarterback in Darnold and expects to be busy in free agency this offseason.(AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Seth Wenig/Associated Press

The New York Jets' hiring of Adam Gase wasn't praised in most media circles, but the person whose future will depend on Gase the most seems pleased.

Jets quarterback Sam Darnold told Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News that he is "pumped" about the hiring:

"I couldn't be more excited about this, to be honest with you. I'm really pumped about this opportunity to be with Coach Gase … with his mind and ability to lead a team. He's a good dude. The excitement and the passion that he has for the game is very contagious. I think that will rub off on a lot of the guys. … I'm super pumped about this whole thing and couldn't be more stoked for the opportunity."

Darnold threw for 2,865 yards and 17 touchdowns against 15 interceptions during his rookie season. His development played a large role in the Jets' hiring of Gase, who has a reputation as a quarterback guru despite a shaky tenure in Miami.

The Dolphins went 23-25 in three seasons under Gase, who previously served as the offensive coordinator for the Denver Broncos and Chicago Bears. They made the playoffs in the 2016 season but went a combined 13-19 over the last two years as Gase failed to make any progress in turning Ryan Tannehill into a franchise quarterback.

Football Outsiders ranked the Dolphins the 26th-best offense and 27th-best passing attack in the NFL during the regular season. Miami quarterbacks threw for just 2,900 yards in 2018, the third-lowest number in the sport.

That hasn't dampened Darnold's enthusiasm for Gase:

"He's very fiery. I love that about him. I love the passion that he brings. At the same time, I'm going to be me. He'll just bring a certain attitude to this team that we need. I'm really looking forward to hearing his ideas and what he thinks might work best, what he thinks I do well, what we want to utilize in terms of running an offense. I'm really looking forward to some of the conversations that I have with him about that."

Gase's tenure will be defined by the development of Darnold, who flashed some skills but also struggled with turnovers as a rookie. If Darnold fails to become a franchise guy—much in the same way Tannehill did in Miami—odds are Gase's leash might be even shorter than three seasons.

But Darnold's full-fledged approval is a promising start.

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