Future Hall of Fame quarterback and five-time NFL MVP Peyton Manning told reporters Friday that he thinks the partnership between first-year New York Jets head coach Adam Gase and second-year quarterback Sam Darnold is "a good fit."
"I think it's a good fit for Sam," Manning said. "Adam was wonderful to me after my injury. I had to learn to play football in a sort of different physical state because I couldn't throw the ball the same way."
Gase and Manning worked together on the Denver Broncos for three seasons. He was Manning's quarterbacks coach in 2012 and his offensive coordinator in 2013 and 2014. Manning set the all-time record for touchdown passes in a single season (55) in 2013. Denver that year also set the record for most points scored in a regular season (606).
Manning's results were all the more impressive considering he sat out the 2011 season after neck surgery in May and spinal fusion surgery in September of that year.
An endorsement from one of the best football players of all time is a good sign for the Gase-Darnold partnership. Jeff Darlington of ESPN.com reported Darnold supported the Gase hire after a FaceTime conversation between the two before the hire.
Darnold had 17 touchdowns, 15 interceptions and a 57.7 percent completion rate last season. While he had an up-and-down year for the 4-12 Jets, some encouraging performances showcased his franchise-quarterback potential. Notably, he threw for 341 yards and three touchdowns against the Green Bay Packers on Dec. 23. He also had just one interception in his final four starts.
Taken third overall in the 2018 draft, the former USC star doesn't turn 22 years old until June, so he has plenty of time for further development.
Gase's Jets tenure will largely be judged by his work with Darnold, and the duo will be crucial if New York is to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2010.