Jets' Sam Darnold Could Play vs. Eagles After Mono; QB Cleared for Non-Contact

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistSeptember 30, 2019

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 16:  (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT)    Sam Darnold #14 of the New York Jets looks on from the sidelines late in a game against the Miami Dolphins on September 16, 2018 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Dolphins defeated the Jets 20-12.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold has been cleared for non-contact work, according to Ethan B. Greenberg of the team's website. 

His status for Sunday's matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field is still up in the air, however, and will remain that way until team doctors clear him for full contact. Darnold is recovering from mononucleosis and missed the team's past two games.

As Ian Rapoport of NFL.com added, it wasn't exactly the update the Jets were likely hoping to receive:

And Darnold said he feels ready to return:

Nonetheless, it appears as though Darnold's absence won't last much longer, even if he's unable to play in Week 5. The Jets certainly need him, as they've fallen into an 0-3 hole. They desperately need a win coming out of the bye week against a tough but beat-up Eagles squad. 

Without Darnold, that might be a tall task. Luke Falk has struggled mightily at quarterback with Darnold out and Trevor Siemian's season over after he tore ligaments in his ankle. The 24-year-old Washington State product has completed 68.1 percent of his passes for 296 yards. While he may be hitting on his passes at a high rate, he has zero touchdowns, an interception and has been sacked seven times. 

Worse, with Falk under center, the Jets have scored just 17 points in two games. Their two touchdowns came from an Arthur Maulet fumble recovery in the end zone off a muffed punt and a Jamal Adams pick-six, both in the second half of a 30-14 blowout against the New England Patriots in Week 3.

In those two games, the Jets have a paltry 367 yards of total offense. Against the Patriots, they only managed 105 yards, barely outpacing New England wide receiver Josh Gordon (83 receiving yards) in that game.

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Without Darnold, the Jets don't have much of a chance against the Eagles. It might be difficult to pull out a victory even with the 2018 third overall selection. Philadelphia just beat the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field 34-27, and it lost its two games by a combined total of seven points.

The Eagles are expected to be a playoff team this season. If the Jets are to have any hope of salvaging their quickly fading postseason hopes, they need Darnold on Sunday.

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