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The Development of Sam Darnold

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7 hours ago, Malik said:

I don't think the 2018 NFL draft is going to be remembered as the 1983 draft, so I don't know how meaningful being the 2nd best QB in that draft really matters. The obsession with peaks is weird. It's about how people play on a consistent basis. Almost every 1st round QB drafted has high peaks. That's why they're drafted in the first round. He's better than Sanchez and Geno were at this current point and time, but I will call every Jets fan here a liar if they would say with a straight face that they felt Sam could consistently move the ball on every drive. Not SCORE, but get a couple first downs every drive. 

YOu are throwing all the blame onto a 22 yr old, thinking that any QB is gonna magically walk onto this team and be a top 10 offense. Not happening. There more to football than just blaming one person.

Now if Darnold was consistently holding us back like a Mark Sanchez, I see. But I have not seen the JEts playing at a high level but having the QB lose the games.Usually its the QB keeps them in the game. Even Darnold vs the Patriots, we had no shot anyways, completely overmatched that game. 

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2 hours ago, NYJets4716 said:

YOu are throwing all the blame onto a 22 yr old, thinking that any QB is gonna magically walk onto this team and be a top 10 offense. Not happening. There more to football than just blaming one person.

Now if Darnold was consistently holding us back like a Mark Sanchez, I see. But I have not seen the JEts playing at a high level but having the QB lose the games.Usually its the QB keeps them in the game. Even Darnold vs the Patriots, we had no shot anyways, completely overmatched that game. 

expecting a couple first downs before a punt is not expecting a top 10 offense at all. jesus christ.

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Forget about the offensive line being historically bad, the amount of drive killing and big play kill holding penalties were literally too many to count. Sam definitely has a ways to go for sure but he couldnt have been in a worse situation. Not to mention we had a non existent running game. My biggest issue with Sam is he very mediocre when he actually had a clean pocket and could set his feet. His biggest and best plays came when he was rolling out or freelancing. He needs to improve as a stationary passer to really but a special QB in this league. Overall though, for a 22 year old, I feel very good about him going forward.

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12 hours ago, ekill08x said:

Forget about the offensive line being historically bad, the amount of drive killing and big play kill holding penalties were literally too many to count. Sam definitely has a ways to go for sure but he couldnt have been in a worse situation. Not to mention we had a non existent running game. My biggest issue with Sam is he very mediocre when he actually had a clean pocket and could set his feet. His biggest and best plays came when he was rolling out or freelancing. He needs to improve as a stationary passer to really but a special QB in this league. Overall though, for a 22 year old, I feel very good about him going forward.

Yes, and not enough people are discussing this. He's made mistakes while under pressure (and that's something I can forgive while he's young), but he's made just as many poor throws and decisions when the pocket was clean. Especially late in the season when our schedule was at it's lightest. He's definitely shown flashes of stuff to be excited for, but he hasn't removed any doubts that he can be our guy if put into a better situation. I like Sam, but I'm still very much on the side that he's more of a middling franchise guy (top 15) than an elite passer top (5).

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One thing to consider; when Sam is in the pocket, I am sure he is waiting to get crushed because the OL has not shown that they can keep him clean.  He feels better on the move because then he is relying on himself, not 5 scrubs.  It is know as the David Carr syndrome and I can only hope he is not damaged beyond repair.  Hold off on your evaluations until we get a semi-decent OL.  Until then, complaining or criticizing a 22 yr old QB that has to fear for his life is unwarranted.

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3 hours ago, NJerseypaint said:

Yes, and not enough people are discussing this. He's made mistakes while under pressure (and that's something I can forgive while he's young), but he's made just as many poor throws and decisions when the pocket was clean. Especially late in the season when our schedule was at it's lightest. He's definitely shown flashes of stuff to be excited for, but he hasn't removed any doubts that he can be our guy if put into a better situation. I like Sam, but I'm still very much on the side that he's more of a middling franchise guy (top 15) than an elite passer top (5).

I actually think he did quite well from a clean pocket. According to PlayerProfiler, his COMP% was 72.9%, good for 14th in the league. You scrap out that atrocious NE game and it would likely be higher. 

What I like about PlayerProfiler as opposed to QBR/PFF is they provide metrics regarding the supporting cast. For instance, Sam's supporting cast efficiency, which is defined as "efficiency of supporting position players measured by aggregating the weighted production premiums of all running back, wide receiver, and tight end teammates", was a -5.02, which they had ranked 28th in the league. His protection rate was 77.5%, which rated 31st in the league. For comparisons sake, Lamar Jackson had a +12.42 supporting cast efficiency (5th) and 87.3% protection rate (3rd), Aaron Rodgers had a +1.2 SCE (14th) and an 85.3% protection rate (10th). 

Another really good tool I've been using is ProFootballReference. They have very detailed passing stats. From 2018 to 2019... 

  • Throw aways: -1 in 2019 (24 in 2018) 
  • Drop percentage: +1.1% (25 drops in 2019, 19 in 2018) 
  • Bad throw percentage: -1.5% (17.8% in 2019, 19.3% in 2018) 
  • On-target throws: 75.2% (didn't register in 2018) 
  • Batted at line: 10 (didn't register in 2018) 
  • Avg time in pocket snap-to-throw: +0.1 (2.5 seconds as opposed to 2.4 in 2018)
  • Blitzed: +59 (166 in 2019, 107 in 2018) 
  • Hurried: -6 (63 in 2019, 69 in 2018) 
  • Hits: +27 (39 in 2019, 12 in 2018) 

If you compare the efficiency numbers to other young QBs in the league (i.e. Lamar Jackson, Patrick Mahomes) or even established vets like Aaron Rodgers - he's right on par with a lot of the categories. In fact, he has Rodgers beat in most despite having less time and facing more pressure. He has far better numbers than QBs he's often compared to such as Josh Allen, Baker Mayfield, Carson Wentz, Jared Goff, Kyler Murray... all despite more pressure. 

A lot of these can be explained, but the main two are increase blitz/hits. The increase of blitzing has a direct correlation with defenses studying his film from 2018, and the Patriots exploited it even more in 2019. Good news is he dramatically improved throughout the year. His hits went way up largely because of said blitzing and because Gase's plays take a little bit longer to develop. 

 

In summary: Sam has work to do, but we should see a significant leap forward within the next 2 seasons as long as the team around him continues to improve. He's going to have his own natural progression as the speed of the game slows down for him and he learns more about the X's and O's/in-game awareness, but the statistical leap should occur with the OL holding up more and the additions of some talent at the skill positions via FA/draft and our own players (Bell hopefully improves and a healthy Herndon). 

Personally, I see a QB on the brink of a breakout. Despite many adversaries, he's made small strides in most of the efficiency categories. The main things he really needs to improve on are his deep passing and red zone completion percentage. The difficulty of Gase's offense doesn't do him any favors either, but the positive is he's facing the school of hard knocks - he won't ever play in an offense as difficult as this one is in terms of QB responsibility. 

 

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