"I have full confidence that I'll be ready for the Eagles game," Darnold told reporters Wednesday. "I'm not gonna promise anything cuz I don't know where exactly this mono thing is going, but hopefully—that's the goal. That's the goal that the doctors have set, and that's the goal that I've set the game to be back for."
On Monday, the Jets fell to 0-2 in a discouraging 23-3 loss to the visiting Cleveland Browns. Backup quarterback Trevor Siemian started in Darnold's place but left in the first half after suffering a season-ending ankle injury. Third-stringer Luke Falk took over for the remainder of the game, and the 24-year-old will remain the starter until Darnold's return.
Darnold started the regular-season opener against the Buffalo Bills on Sept. 8, and the 2018 third overall pick tossed for 175 yards and one touchdown on 28-of-41 passing. Four days later, ESPN's Rich Cimini reported Darnold was ruled out indefinitely with mono.
"First of all, I don't know how I didn't get [mono] in high school or college," Darnold told The Michael Kay Show on Tuesday, saying he's "not really sure" how he got it. "Twenty-two years old, that part pissed me off. When all my teammates are like, 'Bro, how did you not get it in like high school or college?'"
Darnold also told the ESPN radio show that he was also dealing with strep throat with the mono and disclosed he "definitely wasn't feeling 100 percent" for the Jets' 17-16 loss to Buffalo because of a bad night's sleep and cold sweats.
Regardless of Darnold's health, beating the Patriots in Week 3 is a long shot for the Jets. New England is at full strength, outscoring opponents 76-3 through the first two weeks of the season. Having Falk running the offense won't help matters, considering the 2018 sixth-round pick's first NFL game action came Monday.
If Darnold is able to return under center for Week 5, he will likely be rejoining an 0-3 team. While that's not positive by any means, this season for the Jets still needs to be about gauging exactly what they have in Darnold as their franchise quarterback moving forward. He needs to, at the bare minimum, be healthy in order for them to do that.
A losing record compounded by a sidelined Darnold equals a totally lost season in New York.