Sam Darnold is not the answer for the Jets

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The Seahawks pounded the Jets 40-3 on Sunday in Seattle to drop the Jets to 0-13. Here are some thoughts and observations from the game: 

1. For the last two years we have been debating whether Sam Darnold was the long-term answer for the Jets at quarterback. There were arguments that it was impossible to judge him because of his supporting cast, his coaching and other outside factors. But I’ve seen enough. Darnold is not the answer. Sunday’s game was another blah performance by Darnold in a career that has featured too many of them.

This was the fifth straight game Darnold failed to throw for 200 yards. It was the fifth time in six games he failed to throw a touchdown pass. This was against a Seahawks defense that entered the game No. 32 against the pass. Darnold seems tentative in the pocket and does not seem to see the field. He should have been intercepted three times but the Seahawks dropped them all.

I would not say Darnold can’t start in the NFL. If he goes to another team and has a strong supporting cast around him, he can win games. That is the case with a lot of quarterbacks. I compare Darnold to another player taken No. 3 overall – Blake Bortles. The Jaguars got to the AFC Championship Game in 2017 with Bortles at quarterback, but no one viewed him as a strong starting quarterback and he is now a backup. I think that is the direction that Darnold is heading in.

You might think that Darnold is better than Bortles, but that is largely because Bortles became the Nickelback of football somewhere along the way and people like to make fun of him. But look at their numbers through their first 35 starts:

Sam Darnold: 59 percent passes completed, 7,449 yards, 41 touchdowns, 37 interceptions, 77.8 QB rating

Blake Bortles: 59 percent passes completed, 8,680 yards, 53 touchdowns, 42 interceptions, 79.3 QB rating

If anything, Bortles was slightly better. It’s not like Bortles was playing with great offensive players around him either.

To me, the debate is over. Darnold is not the answer for the Jets. Hopefully, he gets a chance somewhere else.

2. Adam Gase’s record dropped to 7-22 as Jets coach with Sunday’s loss. He is well on his way to having one of the worst winning percentages in Jets coaching history. His .241 winning percentage is the third-worst among full-time coaches in team history. The only two who were worse were Lou Holtz (3-10, .231) and Rich Kotite (4-28, .125). With three more losses, Gase will move past Holtz, but he won’t be able to catch Kotite.

Regardless, the Gase era will be remembered as one of the worst in Jets history. There were things out of his control like a terrible roster and some bad injury luck in the last two years, but no one will remember the details in future years, just like no one remembers anything about the Kotite era except how miserable it was. Gase has friends around the league, but you wonder what his future in coaching is after this historically awful season. Rod Marinelli presided over the 2008 Lions, which went 0-16, and was promoted to interim defensive coordinator for the Raiders on Sunday night. That is proof you can come back with a season like this on your record, but it will take a lot for Gase to rebuild his reputation. 

3. The list of Mike Maccagnan blunders is a long one and the Jets are paying for many of his mistakes right now. But one that does not get enough attention is his decision to let Jason Myers and Andre Roberts leave in free agency in 2019. Both of them had great seasons in 2018 for the Jets with Myers making the Pro Bowl and Roberts being named All-Pro.

The Myers decision was in the spotlight Sunday as current Jets kicker Sergio Castillo missed three field goals. No one is arguing the Jets would have won had Castillo made the kicks, but the misses sucked the life out of the Jets and kept them from keeping it somewhat close at halftime. Myers has not been perfect for Seattle this season. He has missed three extra points, including one Sunday, but he is 18-for-18 on field goal attempts. The Jets have been through five kickers in two years since letting Myers walk. It is a decision that made no sense at the time and makes even less sense now. 

4. Sunday’s loss was the Jets’ 100th since 2011. Their record in the last 10 years is now 57-100, a winning percentage of .363. It is amazing how consistently bad the Jets have been since losing that AFC Championship Game in Pittsburgh at the end of the 2010 season. The NFL is designed to encourage parity. Bad teams get to draft first for a reason. The salary cap should prevent teams from re-signing all of their best players. Yet, somehow the Jets continue to be terrible year after year. 

Revealing stat

The Jets failed to score a touchdown on Sunday for the fourth time this season. The Jets have 19 total touchdowns, includuing one on defense. That is the worst in the NFL. The  Giants are closest at 23 touchdowns. By comparison, the Packers have scored 52 touchdowns, the best in the league. It’s hard to win when you don’t score. 

Surprising snap count

Jamison Crowder played 38 out of 53 snaps (72 percent). It was surprising to even see Crowder on the field after he left practice Thursday with a calf injury. He missed Friday’s practice and was questionable. Crowder may have been hurting but it did not keep him off the field. 

Game ball

There are not many candidates this week. Marcus Maye gets it after his acrobatic interception in the end zone. It was one of the few highlights for the Jets on Sunday. 

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