Should Jets Start Sam Darnold In Week 1? Pros And Cons

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Should Jets start Sam Darnold in Week 1? Pros and cons

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By Darryl Slater | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

The Jets, during training camp, will give rookie quarterback Sam Darnold every opportunity to win their Week 1 starting job. So when will Darnold start? Should the Jets start him in Week 1? Let's take a look at the pros and cons.

PRO: THIS IS WHY THEY TRADED UP FOR HIM

The Jets might as well get a look at this guy. They traded up from sixth to third in the 2018 NFL Draft to get him (and gave away three second-round picks in the process), so why not just go ahead and throw him out there in Week 1? That's one line of thinking, as it pertains to the sizable investment the Jets made in Darnold perhaps being their future franchise quarterback. 

CON: POSSIBLE DAMAGE TO CONFIDENCE

It's not apples to apples here, but the Jets have seen the issues that can come with starting a rookie quarterback too early. In 2013, they had to throw second-round pick Geno Smith out there in Week 1, probably before he was ready, because of Mark Sanchez's preseason shoulder injury. Smith wound up not panning out. But independent of any Smith comparisons, you ideally want to give a rookie quarterback a chance to feel somewhat confident when he goes out there and starts for the first time.

PRO: HE HAS THE PHYSICAL POTENTIAL

There is no doubting Darnold's quick release and arm strength. Both of those were evident during spring practices, and surely will continue to be evident during training camp, as he competes with Teddy Bridgewater and Josh McCown for the starting job. There is no doubt Darnold has enough physical tools to make up for some mental hiccups during games, if he starts.

CON: HE MIGHT GET HURT

This is a big con. If Darnold doesn't recognize a blitz, or makes a decision too slowly, he could get popped and suffer a serious injury that might derail his development, at least in the short term. Why run that risk, if Darnold isn't ready to start in Week 1? That's one way of looking at this question about Darnold starting from the get-go. He is no good to himself or the Jets if he is hurt for a lot of 2018 ... or perhaps all of the season. 

PRO: HIS DEMEANOR IS STEADY ENOUGH

Darnold is a confident, collected, steady guy. He doesn't seem like a fragile type who would get rattled by the inevitable, early hiccups that could come with starting from the beginning of a season. So that's a big-time potential positive for him. 

CON: MAYBE HE ISN'T READY TO THRIVE RIGHT AWAY

You never really know until you put a rookie quarterback out there. And it's hard for any rookie quarterback to be a star immediately. But maybe Darnold just needs some time to develop. Perhaps half a season. That would be OK. Nothing wrong with that at all. No need to rush him out there, right?

PRO: BEST WAY TO DEVELOP IS BY PLAYING

On the other hand, experience is a valuable teacher. Darnold could learn a whole lot by being out there and working through his mistakes -- seeing them on film, going through the process with quarterbacks coach/offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates, etc.

CON: HE MIGHT NOT BE THEIR BEST OPTION TO WIN

Jets coach Todd Bowles is the one who decides which players start. And Bowles has long maintained that starters will be determined by which guys give the Jets the best chance to win. Would Darnold, in Week 1 of his rookie season, really be that type of guy? And why should Bowles make an exception to his rule for Darnold, if he isn't the Jets' best quarterback option? 

PRO: HE IS THE JETS' FUTURE, SO WHY WAIT?

McCown isn't the Jets' future at quarterback, and Bridgewater probably isn't. The Jets invested so much in Darnold because they believe he very well could be their long-term quarterback solution. So why wait? Get him out there and let him play from the get-go. 

CON: HE CAN LEARN BY WATCHING, TOO

Yes, the Eagles started Carson Wentz from Week 1 in 2016. But the guy picked one spot ahead of Wentz that year -- No. 1 overall selection Jared Goff -- didn't start for the Rams until the season's 10th game. Goff was able to sit back and watch for the start of his rookie season. And he turned out OK, as did Wentz. There is no right or wrong way to handle the "sit or start?" question for a rookie quarterback, regarding Week 1. 

SO WHAT SHOULD JETS DO?

They should do what Bowles has said they'll do: Run a legitimate quarterback competition in training camp this summer, give Darnold every opportunity to start, don't hold him back at all, and let the best man win the Week 1 job. If that guy is Darnold, so be it. This all seems very logical. There is no harm in Darnold not starting in Week 1. He'll get his chance eventually. But he might just win the Week 1 job ... if he proves he is the best option.

Darryl Slater may be reached at dslater@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @DarrylSlater. Find NJ.com Jets on Facebook.

Source : https://www.silive.com/jets/index.ssf/2018/07/should_jets_start_sam_darnold_in_week_1_pros_and_cons.html

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