Jets QB Sam Darnold Cleared to Return vs. Cowboys After Recovery from Mono

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistOctober 8, 2019

New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) throws a pass during the first half of a preseason NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Noah K. Murray)
Noah K. Murray/Associated Press

The New York Jets announced Tuesday that quarterback Sam Darnold has been medically cleared to start Sunday's Week 6 game against the Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium after recovering from mononucleosis.

Eric Allen of the Jets' official website provided comments Darnold made during a Monday appearance on The Michael Kay Show on ESPN New York radio:

"I feel good. Energy's awesome. Just looking to play this week, but (have to) wait for the doctor's orders tomorrow. I'm excited to hear the news, I have a feeling it's going to be good news. I thought maybe it would come last week, but had to wait it out again. Hopefully this week it's better news and I get to practice and get ready for a game on Sunday."

Darnold completed 28 of his 41 passing attempts for 175 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions in a 17-16 loss to the Buffalo Bills in Week 1. He's missed the team's last three games, lopsided defeats to the Cleveland Browns, New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles, because of mono.

Luke Falk, who took over the offense after backup Trevor Siemian suffered a season-ending ankle injury in Week 2, struggled to fill the void. While he's connected on 64.4 percent of his throws, he racked up just 416 yards with no touchdowns and three picks.

Jets head coach Adam Gase said Monday that getting Darnold back would provide a major boost.

"It's probably more than just Sam getting out at practice," Gase told reporters. "We have a lot of other things to clean up. Sam is able to hide things sometimes for us where if we make a mistake, he covers it up. I think we just need to do a better job as a group, making sure all 11 are on the same page."

New York shouldn't lack playmaking ability on offense with the third overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft back under center.

He'll lead a group with Le'Veon Bell at running back and a deep receiving corps that includes Robby Anderson, Demaryius Thomas and Jamison Crowder.

The Jets' schedule gets far more favorable after home games against the Cowboys and Patriots over the next two weeks. It gives them a chance to make a surge in the second half of the season if Darnold can stay healthy.

It may be too late, though. New York's playoff chances have already dropped to 8 percent, per FiveThirtyEight, and would sink lower if the team can't upset either Dallas and/or New England.

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