Jets' Robert Saleh Praises 'Fearless' Sam Darnold: 'He's Tough as Nails'

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJanuary 22, 2021

New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold rolls out to pass against the New England Patriots in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Charles Krupa/Associated Press

The New York Jets could still move on from Sam Darnold this offseason, but new head coach Robert Saleh has a lot of respect for the young quarterback.

"What I can tell you with regards to Sam is he's got an unbelievable arm talent," Saleh told reporters at his introductory press conference Thursday. "There's a reason why he was the No. 3 pick in the draft. He's fearless in the pocket. He's got a natural throwing motion. He's mobile. He's extremely intelligent. He's tough as nails. His reputation in the locker room is unquestioned."

Darnold was taken third overall in 2018 and flashed a lot of potential in three seasons, including in 2019 when he totaled 3,024 passing yards and 19 touchdowns in 13 games.

He seemingly took a step back this past year, however, finishing with just nine passing touchdowns and 11 interceptions and a career-low 72.7 rating. With the Jets struggling to a 2-14 record, many suspect the squad will start fresh and use the No. 2 pick of the draft on a new franchise quarterback.

Saleh said Thursday it would be "premature" to make any decision about the position now, but his latest praise could be a good sign for the 23-year-old signal-caller.