New York Jets coach Adam Gase said Thursday that the team hasn’t done enough in the development of third-year quarterback Sam Darnold.
Darnold was selected by the Jets with the third overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft. Gase joined the Jets ahead of the 2019 season, and the team has posted a 7-20 record under his watch — including an 0-11 start to this season.
“I came here to help him, help him develop his career, and we haven’t been able to do that,” Gase said of Darnold, who was the second quarterback taken behind top overall pick Baker Mayfield (Cleveland) in that draft.
Darnold, 23, showed modest improvement from his rookie year to his second season. His touchdown total improved from 17 to 19, his interception total dropped from 15 to 13 and he completed a higher percentage of his passes (57.7 percent in 2018, 61.9 percent in 2019).
This season has been an unmitigated disaster for the winless Jets. Darnold has thrown for just 1,242 yards with three touchdowns and eight interceptions in seven games. He returned from a shoulder injury to throw for 197 yards and two picks in last Sunday’s 20-3 setback to Miami, Gase’s former team.
Darnold hasn’t thrown a touchdown pass since connecting with Braxton Berrios on a 16-yard scoring strike in New York’s 36-7 setback to Indianapolis on Sept. 27. Darnold’s 64.0 passer rating is the worst among qualifying quarterbacks.
“Yeah, it’s frustrating,” Gase said of the touchdown drought. “For him personally, I’m sure he’s bothered by it, knowing things like that.
“I look at it as we’ve got to do a better job as a staff. We’ve got to put these guys in the best position possible, and those guys have to go execute. It’s on all of us. We have to find a way to do a better job. We have to find a way to put the ball in the end zone.”
New York is in line to select first in the 2021 NFL Draft, with Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence and Ohio State’s Justin Fields the presumptive top two picks.
Gase, Darnold and the Jets look for better results on Sunday when they host the Las Vegas Raiders (6-5) in East Rutherford, N.J.
“We need to do things well around him, but at the same time, it’s on me to get him to play better than what he’s played,” Gase said. “I haven’t done a good enough job.”