By Lenn Robbins
This might not be fair to Daniel Jones. It surely isn’t fair to Sam Darnold.
But this is one of many burdens that come with playing in a media market that hoists the Empire State Building on one shoulder and the Chrysler Building on the other.
Jones, the sixth player taken in the 2019 NFL Draft, has started a mere six games in this, his rookie season. Some already are wondering if he has a better chance of developing into a franchise quarterback than Darnold.
Darnold, the third player picked in last year’s draft, made the 17th start of his career in Sunday’s 29-15 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. He’s 22 years old, which means there’s a lot of progressing still to come, hopefully positive.
Unless, of course he’s not broken before he can reach his potential, which is the bigger concern than which quarterback is playing better now.
Darnold posted a three-interception game for the second straight week. This time there was no talk of supernatural sightings as was the case in last week’s 33-0 loss to the Patriots.
Darnold, who missed time with mono, has thrown eight picks in four games, equal to the number of picks Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes, Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson have combined to throw in 31 games.
Darnold’s numbers for the season are about as bad as bad can be. His rating is 33.7. Mitch Trubisky, who just barely avoided a benching, is 35.8.
Darnold hasn’t been good. But he’s been accountable and unflappable. He also seems to be flying this Jets team solo. Ted Stryker had a better co-pilot.
The passing attack has been pathetic because, really, who does Darnold have as targets? The offense, overall, is impotent because defenses are sitting on Le’Veon Bell. And the coaching has been, at best baffling and at worst, incompetent.
The Jets go for two when they should take the point after. Clock management is as baffling as Daylight Savings time before smartphones did the change automatically for us.
Jones threw four touchdown passes and no interceptions in the Giants’ 31-26 loss to the Lions. His QB rating is 55.2 and he’s thrown more touchdowns (10) than interceptions (7). But it’s not that black and white.
Jones has an elite running back and an upper tier tight end and the Giants might have plan. On Monday, they acquired defensive tackle Leonard Williams from the Jets for a 3rd round pick in 2020 and a 5th round pick in 2021 that could become a fourth rounder if the former No. 6 overall pick in 2015 signs an extension with Big Blue.
That’s another top Jets pick that didn’t pan out but what’s to be expected with the turnover in management and coaches that occurs so frequently and illogically. They always seem to be going one-step forward, three steps back.
The Giants haven’t been much better. The Nate Solder hasn’t been nearly the player he was in New England. The defense is toothless. Williams already is penciled in as a starter before going through a practice.
Jets coach Adam Gase told reporters on Monday that in one 13-pass sequence on Sunday, Darnold was sacked, hit or touched on nine attempts.
Jones faces a similar challenge. He’s been sacked 21 times in seven games. Darnold’s been sacked 15 times in four games.
The question isn’t who will become the better quarterback. The question is will both quarterbacks be broken down wrecks abandoned on the side of a county road by the time their teams have a winning roster.
NEST EGG: Lamar Jackson is averaging 6.9 yards per carry. No running back with at least 100 carries is averaging more than 5.5 (Nick Chubb). The Baltimore quarterback has rushed 83 times. The closest comparison is San Fran’s Matt Breida who is averaging 5.3 yards on 84 carries.