Todd Bowles: Sam Darnold 'did everything he was asked to do'

ByRich Cimini ESPN logo
Saturday, August 25, 2018

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Rookie Sam Darnold is the apparent front-runner in the New York Jets' quarterback competition, but coach Todd Bowles isn't tipping his hand.

"I have a good feeling for where we want to go and what we need to do," Bowles said Friday night after a 22-16 loss to the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. "We'll sit down and discuss it as a coaching staff and move forward from there."

Darnold was solid in his second consecutive start, receiving a positive review from Bowles. Playing with the starters into the third quarter, the first-round pick completed 8 of 16 passes for 86 yards and a touchdown.

He orchestrated a 75-yard touchdown drive on his first possession, but the Darnold-led offense went three-and-out on five of its next six series, not counting a kneel-down at the end of the half. His only glaring mistake was an intentional grounding penalty.

"He didn't turn the ball over, and he did everything he was asked to do," Bowles said.

Teddy Bridgewater (11-for-15, 104 yards) came off the bench in the third quarter, played one series with the starting offensive line and finished up with the backups.

"I thought Teddy did a good job, as well," Bowles said. "We've got three good quarterbacks. I've been saying that."

Incumbent Josh McCown didn't play for the second straight week.

The Jets close out the preseason on Thursday night at the Philadelphia Eagles. Bowles hinted he could play his starters for a short time, but he was noncommittal.

Bowles said he won't announce his quarterback decision until after the final preseason game. From all indications, Darnold, drafted third overall, is the favorite. He hasn't put up big numbers -- only 244 passing yards in roughly six quarters -- but he has just one interception.

"Consistency is the biggest thing for me and, so far, I've been really consistent," said Darnold, who threw a 12-yard scoring pass to Terrelle Pryoron Friday.

"I'm not here to say that I've won the job or lost the job," Darnold added. "I'm just going to play consistent football, continue to put my best foot forward for the team, continue to be a good leader and really just be myself. At the end of the day, it's a coach's decision."

Darnold's biggest thrill occurred before the game, when he met Jets legend Joe Namath for the first time. The Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback spoke to all three quarterbacks on the field, later saying in a halftime interview that Darnold's first-half performance was the best he had seen from a rookie in a long time.

"He's just a great guy," Darnold said of Namath. "He's very charismatic. Obviously, there's a lot of personality there, and it was awesome to be able to talk to him a little bit.

"It was cool to meet Broadway Joe, knowing his history with this franchise."