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Report: Sam Darnold Liked More by Fans Than Teams; NFL Coach Says 'He Stinks'

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorMarch 17, 2021

FILE - New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold rolls out to pass against the New England Patriots in the first half of an NFL football game in Foxborough, Mass., in this Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, file photo. The 23-year-old quarterback was considered an untouchable player on the roster only a year ago. General manager Joe Douglas has backed off that stance, though, and it could signal a major change at the position as free agency and the NFL draft approach. “I will answer the call if it's made,” Douglas said Wednesday, March 3, 2021, when asked if he'd listen to offers for Darnold from other teams. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)
Charles Krupa/Associated Press

The perception of New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold's playing abilities among media members and fans seems to be "significantly higher" than it is from league scouts, coaches and executives, per a pair of tweets from Matt Lombardo of FanSided on Tuesday.

One unnamed offensive coach even went so far as to say, "He stinks, bro," regarding his feelings on Darnold.

Lombardo also added that a current unnamed general manager would list Darnold as the fourth-best quarterback in this year's draft class.

The Jets have a big decision to make at quarterback under a new regime led by first-year head coach Robert Saleh. They can either stick with Darnold, select a quarterback in the draft or find a veteran via trade or free agency.

On one hand, Darnold simply has not played well, completing 59.8 percent of his passes for 45 touchdowns, 39 interceptions and just 6.6 yards per pass attempt in 38 career games.

He ranked 35th in Football Outsiders' DVOA metric (defense-adjusted value over average) among 36 quarterbacks who threw at least 200 passes last year.

Per Pro Football Reference, he had the lowest quarterback rating in the league among 35 qualified quarterbacks and the third-lowest QBR.

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Per Pro Football Focus, Darnold is also the NFL's second-lowest-graded quarterback during his career (2018-2020).

On the other hand, Darnold hasn't been given much of a chance to succeed. New York has had three play-callers in Kacy Rodgers, Dowell Loggains and ex-Jets head coach Adam Gase in three years. Darnold's first year was former head coach Todd Bowles' last season with Gang Green before the quarterback had to learn a new system under Gase in 2019.

On the field, Darnold has thrown to a rotating group of wide receivers and tight ends for three years. Tight end Chris Herndon is the only Jet to have caught a pass from Darnold in each of his three seasons, and that includes 2019, when he had just one reception in one game played all year.

Darnold also missed three games in 2018 (foot injury), three more in 2019 (mononucleosis) and two in 2020 (shoulder injury).

It's possible Darnold simply needs a change in scenery to hit the ceiling expected of him when the Jets selected the former USC star third overall in the 2018 draft.

Likewise, it might behoove the Jets to start fresh in a new regime. The Jets would certainly have options with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 draft.

If Clemson's Trevor Lawrence goes No. 1 to the Jacksonville Jaguars as expected, New York should still have multiple options, including BYU's Zach Wilson, Ohio State's Justin Fields and North Dakota State's Trey Lance.

We'll soon find out which direction the Jets head. For now, New York is in the throes of free agency, and the draft is slated to start April 29.

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