Sabo’s Sessions takes a detailed look into a Sam Darnold-New York Jets third-and-9 decision that resulted in a Chris Hogan smoke route.
Unfortunately, Darnold is never fair to himself. Being a maniacal self-critic is one thing; constantly kicking yourself to the point the next play is influenced is an issue.
“First off, we didn’t execute the way that we wanted to, especially in the first half,” Darnold told the media after the Jets’ 27-17 loss to the Buffalo Bills Sunday. “I put that on my shoulders. I missed way too many throws today. We had opportunities and I just missed guys. We’ve got to look at the tape and see what happened, but I just flat-out missed guys and that’s on me.”
Darnold, 23, did not stop there. On Monday, after watching the film, he continued to represent his own worst self-critic, claiming he knows exactly what’s wrong, and he practices it flawlessly, yet it did not translate into the game.
“I just have to go out there and do it in practice and execute it in the game,” Darnold told the media Monday. “My feet need to be aligned with my eyes, I need to be better with my footwork.”
Darnold constantly throws from an open position, with his left foot stepping into a 10 or 11 o’clock spot. (Joe Blewett loves to label it as “stepping in the bucket.”) It leads to erratic balls flying all over the place.
“I kick myself a lot for missing throws,” Darnold added. “And three in a row that I usually don’t miss.”
Just as concerning as his mechanics are his decisions pre-snap.
Darnold’s offense put forth a putrid second series in Orchard Park. First down featured a nice four-yard gain (Frank Gore) on the ground out of the pistol look. Second down saw the Jets lose three years on the mid-to-outsize zone to Le’Veon Bell. This set up a third-a-9 situation, one that confuses fans and showcases a quarterback’s unusual decision.