The New York Jets have yet to decide who their starting quarterback will be come Week 1. While it is an open competition, it should be no competition at all.
The New York Jets are a team with a fanbase desperate for some sign of hope for the future. This has been the case for much of the last decade.
January 23, 2011. This is the date in which the New York Jets saw their season come to an end by the hand of the Pittsburgh Steelers, losing to the future Super Bowl runner-ups in the AFC Championship Game. This is also the last time the Jets have played a snap of playoff football.
It has since been a long, unsuccessful seven years for Gang Green. In that stretch, the team has earned itself a top-10 pick in the NFL Draft four times. Despite picking high in the draft on a near-annual basis, the team isn’t any closer to relevance than it was when the playoff drought began.
But thanks to one player, that may soon change.
This March, the Jets made a controversial trade. At the cost of three second-round picks the team moved up from the sixth-overall pick to the No. 3 pick in the upcoming draft. With a bit of luck, the Jets found Sam Darnold waiting for them when they went on the clock, finally giving them a chance to field a franchise quarterback.
Darnold has the potential to turn around the franchise from day one, but he first must be given the opportunity to prove he is capable of being a top-end player.
Despite being just a rookie, the Jets will be making a mistake if they decide not to start Darnold come Week 1.
Currently, the team’s quarterback competition is wide open. Darnold is competing against Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater for the starting spot.
All three of these players come with their pros and cons. McCown is a reliable player who knows the system. You know what you’ll get from him. But that is also the problem with McCown, you know you’ll get from him. Mediocrity.
Bridgewater brings essentially the polar opposite of what McCown does. He is coming off of a gruesome leg injury that caused him to miss all of 2016 and all but one game in 2017. No one knows what to expect from a post-injury Bridgewater. But what we do know is he was once a Pro Bowl-caliber player, earning the honor at the end of the 2015 season.
Even so, there is no precedent for how a player will recover from an injury such as the one suffered by Bridgewater, making him as big of a question mark as a rookie.
Neither of these two players have anywhere close to the ceiling as Darnold, and perhaps not a much higher floor.
The only logical reasoning for not beginning the season with Darnold as the starter is not wanting to rush his development. This is a fair point, but Darnold is not a project quarterback. He enters the league with flaws, admittedly, but he still looks like an NFL-ready quarterback.