EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - OCTOBER 01: Sam Darnold #14 of the New York Jets scrambles against Bradley Chubb #55 of the Denver Broncos during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium on October 01, 2020 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold is looking at his shoulder injury similarly to everything else he does: in a one day at a time fashion.

Robby Sabo

The New York Jets‘ vocal calling card under Adam Gase has been quite clear. From the head coach to Joe Douglas, defensive players to the equipment manager, everybody’s just looking to take things “one day at a time.”

It’s always the here and the now with the Jets. The next game is the only critical one and that day’s practice is all that matters at the moment. There’s nothing wrong with such a tact in football, a game that demands absolute focus. )Fans simply wish it translated in the win column is all.)

Sam Darnold has taken the motto and repeated it more than anybody over the last season and change. While it hasn’t helped him improve on the field, it’s allowed the USC product to represent the perfect player off of it.

Darnold has nearly been “Jeterian” in how he’s conducted himself away from the game. Not even a bout with mono could create unsavory headlines that have him matched up with a wild night on the town.

Right now, mono is the last thing on the kid’s mind. The shoulder injury that sidelined him for a big during the Jets’ 37-28 loss to the Denver Broncos last Thursday night may keep him out of action this Sunday. Darnold is hoping for a different outcome and his one day at a time motto is keeping him company.

“I feel good,” Darnold told reporters on a Monday Zoom call. “You know, right now I am just taking it day-by-day. It keeps getting better, so I’m excited to see where my progress is come Wednesday, and we’ll see what we do there.”

Darnold, 23, injured his right shoulder on a play in which he completely missed Lawrence Cager on a dig after play-action. A roughing the passer penalty should have absolutely been called, but in the end, an AC joint sprain was the diagnosis.

A Darnold scratch this Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals would mark the third-straight season he’s been unable to play a full 16-game slate. An ankle injury kept him sidelined for three games his rookie season, and, of course, mono took him out for another three games a year ago.

To have another non-16-game season would mean Darnold didn’t meet his availability goals, something he’s fully aware of as a quarterback.

“Your best ability as a quarterback is your availability,” Darnold said. “I’ve always said that. I believe in that, so missing games is … I always want to do everything I can to not miss any games.”

To accomplish that, Darnold needs to first focus on his availability for Wednesday’s practice, something that remains in doubt.

“It’s not something I’ve decided,” Darnold said regarding practicing Wednesday. “It’s how I feel on that day. I’m going to go about it day-by-day. I want nothing more than to be out there with the guys playing football on Sunday. Practicing is a huge part of it.”

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In the event Darnold doesn’t practice this week, don’t completely rule him out to go one-on-one with Kyler Murray. He’s not sure if Gase will suit him up without practice yet would desperately want to.

“I’m not sure,” Darnold said in response to whether he can play Sunday without practicing. “I think for me it’s wanting to play and wanting to play on Sundays is the most important thing. Obviously, being out there at practice is also very important. So again, I’m going to go about it day-by-day, but I want nothing more than just to be out there with the guys playing football on Sunday. Obviously practicing, as I said, is a huge part of it, so we’ll see.”

The 0-4 New York Jets are currently preparing for a tough 2-2 Arizona Cardinals squad ready to invade MetLife Stadium this coming Sunday. Joe Flacco should be named the starting quarterback if Darnold cannot go. On Monday, Mike White was signed to the active roster.


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