The Sam Darnold Trade: The Perfect Trade at the Perfect Time for BOTH teams!

The Sam Darnold Trade: The Perfect Trade at the Perfect Time for BOTH teams!

The New York Jets have officially made their decision about the future of the franchise’s quarterback position. And not a moment too soon….

The Jets have traded QB Sam Darnold to the QB needy Carolina Panthers in exchange for a 2021 6th round draft pick, a 2022 2nd round draft pick, and a 2022 4th round draft pick late Monday afternoon. This trade ends Darnold’s much-maligned career in New York where there was so much promise when he was drafted by then GM, Mike MacCagnan 3rd overall in the 2018 NFL Draft. Darnold was one of the “top 5” quarterbacks in that year’s draft which featured Baker Mayfield, Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson, and Josh Rosen. This was supposed the be the QB class that “changed” the NFL. If you look at that list now, Lamar Jackson has won an MVP in the NFL and played in an AFC Championship game. Baker Mayfield broke Cleveland’s playoff drought and leads one of the high-powered offenses in the AFC. Josh Allen, who a LOT of people made fun of, is an AFC East Champion, played in an AFC Championship game, and was in consideration for NFL MVP last season. Josh Rosen cannot even get a backup QB job in the NFL after Kliff Kingsbury and the Arizona Cardinals traded Rosen to Miami after drafting QB Kyler Murray and was subsequently released after he failed to catch on. And then there’s Sam Darnold and the Jets (in the best Joe Beningo voice I can do). In his 3-year career with the New York Jets, Sam Darnold has thrown for 8,097 yards, 45 TD’s, and 39 INTs with a 59.8% completion percentage- hardly stats that strike fear into the hearts of the opposition. While some analysts have said that Darnold possesses ‘magical sloppiness’ in his ability to make plays out of nothing, Jets fans have watched this ‘magical sloppiness’ result in just plain old sloppy QB play which resulted in bad reads, untimely turnovers, and a failure to produce points for an offensively challenged football team. For a QB in his third year in the NFL, the mistakes made in year one should NOT be made in year three on ANY level! And Sam was given every opportunity last season despite all the shortcomings around him to show that he can be successful and can be ‘the guy’ moving forward. But you can’t be ‘the guy’ if you’re constantly seeing ‘ghosts’ on the football field.

But as much as we want to bash Darnold for being a bad QB, the New York Jets are just as guilty as he is for the team’s woes. Mike MacCagnan’s arrogance came back to bite him in the ass when he drafted young Sam Darnold. And this arrogance pre-dates even the 2018 NFL draft, in my opinion. The combination of having a GM that never really addressed an offensive line that needed an overhaul, a head coach who was on the hot seat, an offensive coordinator who came back the year before as a QB coach after taking a 5-year hiatus from the game of football, and a football team that lacked talent overall was the ‘perfect storm’ that seemingly doomed Sam from the moment he was drafted. And it got progressively worse with the hire of Adam Gase as head coach in 2019-2020. With no talent around him and an unclear direction of where the franchise was heading at that point, its safe to say that the Jets failed Darnold in wasting his rookie contract by not building around him properly just as Darnold failed the Jets in his lack of production on the football field.

Why is this trade perfect for both teams right now? Because the Jets add to the arsenal of draft picks they already have to accelerate the TRUE rebuild that this team is currently undergoing plus get the opportunity to reset the QB position financially, which opens up cap space to obtain free agents they choose to go after in the future and re-sign homegrown players. The Panthers get a QB which they think they can fix and can be ‘the guy’ going forward. And its clear that they want to move on from Teddy Bridgewater so, Darnold will be given an opportunity to compete for the starting job in Carolina. A win-win for all parties involved!

Now, full disclosure, I was a huge fan of Sam. I wanted him to do well here. I defended him to anyone that would listen from all the Sam-Haters within the fan base. But what we all saw last year made all the defending pointless. Sam was just not going to cut it as a New York Jet. So, I wish him well in Carolina and I do hope that he can resurrect his career over there.

The smart money is that the Jets are taking a quarterback at 2. And the overwhelming consensus is that the Jets are “leaning” in the direction of BYU QB Zack Wilson. So, its time for Jets Nation to put the past 3 years of failures, heartaches, and disappointments behind and begin to focus on the future. And, if Joe Douglas has anything to say about it, the future of the New York Jets organization now looks to not just take down the big top circus tents that have been associated with this team for a long time now, but to burn them in defiance and make the Jets respectable again.

What To Do At 2

What To Do At 2

With Deshaun Watson officially asking for a trade out of Houston, the Jets find themselves in avery unique position heading into the offseason. There is no denying that the QB position hasbeen an issue for not only the last 3 years, but for the past 5 decades. In the air raid era of theNFL today, this is a position the Jets need to finally hit on, and hit now or we could be looking atanother long stretch of recycles through the organization, effectively pausing the rebuild eachtime. But what do the Jets do? Stick with Sam Darnold? Give up a host of top picks and bring inWatson? Or do we stick with our picks and bring in a fresh rookie that new OC Mike LeFleur cangroom into a franchise guy? The silver lining here is, the Jets are in prime positions to chooseany one of those options and come out on top.

Let’s discuss the options the Jets have with the #2 draft pick for this one. This has been asource of some very heated discussions across Jets Nation and everyone has their own idea onhow to proceed.

First, (and the most annoying if I’m being honest) is the crowd that says we should draft PeneiSewell at 2. Guys, throw this idea out the window. Sewell is a left tackle and we have ours.People say just swap becton or Sewell to the right side. Wrong! Tackles do not just swap sideslike it’s nothing. A left tackle trying to play on the right side has to reverse everything he haslearned about the position. Footwork is different. Protection packages are different. Runblocking assignments are reversed. Now, I am not saying an elite left tackle doesn’t have theability and talent to make that swap, but you drafted them for a reason right? You drafted thembecause they are the top talent at their position only to move them out of it? It makes no sense.Drafting Sewell at 2 is essentially using our #2 pick on a depth player and that is what the 6thand 7th rounds are for, not the 1st round. Sorry Penei, Miami or Cincinnati will be calling shortly.

The “stick with Sam” fans are also saying we need weapons. I get that and I don’t disagree. Iam hearing Devonta Smith, WR from Bama or Jaylen Waddle also from Bama. Ja’Marr Chasefrom LSU has surprisingly fallen out of many conversations after Smith won the Heisman, but isstill a legit #1 talent and will be a franchise WR somewhere. I like Smith, I like Chase. Waddleand his ankle scare me, but given the proper time to heal, Waddle is a threat on the field. Thisweapon take is not far off base. My concern is, Sam Darnold has struggled with deep ballaccuracy. Tends to under throw receivers down the field or sail intermediate passes over themiddle. If the QB can’t consistently get the ball to those weapons, then they are meaningless inthe grand scheme of things. And honestly, Joe Douglas didn’t draft Sam. Robert Saleh and Co.didn’t groom Sam. Given the options the Jets have, Deshaun Watson, Justin Fields, ZachWilson, a very remote Trevor Lawrence falling possibility.. Given these options, I don’t see theJets sticking with Sam Darnold because if they did, and Sam failed again while Fields, Wilsonand Watson are shining elsewhere, Jets fans, that is something GM’s don’t come back from.

Finally we have “the take a QB” crowd. This is where I fall into the mix. With the Jets sitting at 2,we are likely out of the running for Trevor Lawrence, but that doesn’t mean I still don’t have myfingers crossed that he falls! More than likely, the New York Jets QB decision will come down todrafting Justin Fields or Zach Wilson. Fields is legit. If there was ever a QB to shake the OhioState system QB stigma that they have had for years, it’s Justin Fields. He throws a very prettydeep ball, he is mobile, he is accurate and makes good decisions. My concern is his bounceback ability. Watching tape on him, if things do end up off script or a bad series happens, Inoticed he struggles a bit to rebound. I have noticed improvement in this aspect toward the endof this year, but admittedly, 8 total games, 6 regular season and 2 playoff games, is a very smallsample size to go off of. Fields will be a gamble. I know, I know.. He was the most recruitedprospect coming out of high school.. But football only gets harder. Give me a QB that hasstruggled and fought through real adversity. A kid who is built to handle that.

Which brings me to Zach Wilson. Every bit as accurate as Fields, has a cannon for an arm, buthe has a very wonky ¾ release on his throws that puts a great deal of strain on his throwingshoulder. A mechanics flaw that did, in fact, lead to a shoulder surgery in January of 2019.Though an injury directly caused the surgery, Wilson said he has had a minor shoulder issuesince high school. To some, that might be a huge red flag. But to QB trainers and coaches, it issimply coaching a revised release of the ball and the shoulder will no longer be an issue.

Wilson edges out Fields at 2 for me. I just don’t have the rebound concerns that I do with Fields.And I just cannot justify sticking with Darnold. 3 years with the same issues, and some of thoseissues getting worse. I have never seen a QB throw without stepping into the trow so much as Ihave with Sam. I have never seen someone stare down routes so much. And even more thanthat, If I see these things, Saleh and Douglas see them too.

That said, I will be 100% on board with whomever Joe Douglas and Robert Saleh end up goingwith and I will trust the process. A phrase we Jets fans have been saying for years, but this onefeels different. Don’t you fans feel different this year? Something has changed within the DNA ofthis franchise. Maybe it is ownership finally coming to terms with the fact that they don’t know this sport and they should let men who do run the show. Maybe it is Robert Saleh and the AllGas, No Brake mantra. But something in this organization just feels different and I have notbeen this excited for a Jets offseason in a very long time. This one will be one for the books Jetsfans. Sit back, enjoy the ride and Go Jets!

Trust in The Process

Trust in The Process

When Joe Douglas was hired as the GM of the much-maligned New York Jets, he was given the single most difficult task asked of any New York professional sports general manager- turn an NFL laughingstock franchise into legitimate championship contender. A very daunting task- for any GM who has dared to step into the role since its last playoff appearance in 2010; A year in which the Jets were going into their second AFC Championship Game under former head coach Rex Ryan and then, GM Mike Tannenbaum. Since then, the Jets have been an absolute dumpster fire of a franchise. The litany of reasons that could be given for those failures could be an episode of ESPN’s 30 for 30 all by itself! But the time has finally come for a new era of Jets football to emerge from the wreckage of multiple failed experiments from a GM inheriting a head coach that he may not want to both the GM and the HC reporting to the owner on equal footing, with no clear line drawn as to whose responsibility was what within the power hierarchy. The very public firing of Adam Gase and the subsequent press conferences that followed in which interim owner Christopher Johnson finally admitted failure and vowed change would come took Jets fans by surprise, and dare I say it, gave us a small sliver of hope! 

Hope! What is that?! What is this ‘hope’ that people speak of?! Is it the hope that the Johnson family will let his football people do football work instead of defaulting to the words of head-hunting firms that have zero skin in the game?! That Joe Douglas will get to do the job that he was hired for?! Well, it sure does look like it the way Douglas is conducting his head coaching search.

Sure, Jets fans (myself included) got excited when news came down of the list of candidates that the Jets had already interviewed. Names that included Chiefs OC Eric Bienemy, 49ers DC Robert Salah, Bills OC Brian Daboll, and Titans OC Arthur Smith. The Jets have had second interviews with Salah and Smith so far and as the days pass, you can bet that they will have more interviews lined up still. Joe Douglas has already set a precedent in his short time as Jets GM- he is not interested in the “sexy” hire. This fact alone should have Jets fans optimistic! Why you may ask? Because past Jets GM’s have always caved to the wants and desires of the Johnsons- who have always sought to dominate the New York sports headlines for all the wrong reasons! Joe Douglas wants a “CEO” type of head coach; a leader of men and someone who commands the respect of his players in the locker room. This type of head coach is someone that Jets fans should also want- a coach who will hold his players accountable, his staff accountable, and himself accountable. And if the Jets intend to find this coach, they must search, they must interview, they must kick over every single stone they find to procure that coveted treasure.

My advice to Jets fans all over the world is based on one word- patience. Be patient with Joe Douglas. Be patient with his process. Trust in the process. And let us finally leave the Same Old Jets moniker behind once and for all.

My Rebuttal to Mr. Jeremy Schaap

My Rebuttal to Mr. Jeremy Schaap..






Why should Trevor Lawrence be sacrificed on the altar of competitive balance?” “Why in the spirit of competitive balance do we reward losing?” “How about instead we award winning- not just with the Lombardi trophy, but with the first overall pick?” 


When New York Jets fans woke up on December 12th, they were greeted with not a positive report about their football team. They were greeted with not some hopeful news that when this season comes to its merciful end, that the Jets will be in a prime position to add a generational talent to their roster who looks forward to the challenge of being a part of turning their beleaguered franchise around. They were greeted with an episode of Outside the Lines, hosted by Jeremy Schaap, on ESPN that featured a rather pointed shot at how losing teams are given the ability to upgrade their rosters by awarding them a higher draft pick so they can improve from being a losing team to…. dare I say it…. a winning team! More importantly, the shot was aimed at the New York Jets who at that time, if the season ended then would have had the first overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Well, as we all saw from the time this comment aired until now, the Jets no longer have the first overall pick. That distinct honor now belongs to the Jacksonville Jaguars by virtue of the Jets wins over the Rams and the Browns. So, the Jets have now clinched the second overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Even though there are some Jets fans who dreamt of the notion of having the right to select Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence with that first pick (myself included) dashed with Gang Green’s 2 wins this season, there is still plenty of reason for Jets fans to be hopeful this upcoming off season. But I digress- even though Mr. Schaap is probably sitting in his office right now, writing another article for ESPN, the statements that were made during his ‘parting shots’ segment will not be forgotten by Jets fans anytime soon, regardless of where the Jets would have slotted to pick on draft day. This is my response to Mr. Schaap in regard to his remarks…

If this were any other team in the NFL other than the New York Jets, would you have the same opinion, Mr. Schaap? I really would like to know. Did you have a similar opinion about the 2008 Detroit Lions? How about the 2017 Cleveland Browns? Did the Lions not deserve to draft Matthew Stafford because of how bad of a team they were or how poorly run they were in 2009? How about the Cleveland Browns drafting Baker Mayfield first overall in 2018? Did they not deserve to draft him either despite how poorly run the Browns were? Where was this ‘manifesto’ of yours then?!?! To say that ANY team does not deserve the opportunity to draft a talented player with the hopes that said player will help to turn a team’s fortunes around and start them down the path of being competitive again is completely and utterly ridiculous. The purpose of the NFL Draft is to give ALL TEAMS the opportunity to draft players which could potentially help their franchises. Now, do the players selected always pan out? Not exactly- go see Ryan Leaf, JaMarcus Russell, Matt Leinart, and Reggie Bush just to name a few. There are no guarantees in ANY sport that ANY player when drafted to ANY team is going to be a ‘generational talent’ like the way Trevor Lawrence has been touted this season. Last season, similar words were used with describing Cincinnati Bengals first round pick QB Joe Burrow. The season before that, similar words were used to describe Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray. Every year, we hear the same analysis of college players entering the NFL Draft. Wash, rinse, repeat!

In my opinion, your closing statements made on Outside the Lines was nothing more than a pointed shot at the entire New York Jets organization! And, although that I, as a fan, can admit that some real change needs to happen within the New York Jets, to say that the Jets do not deserve a player of Lawrence’s caliber playing for them is just plain disrespectful. You cannot fault any team in the NFL to want to be competitive- that is why the draft order goes from worst to best. A little thing called “competitive balance”. This little thing is what has helped teams like the Miami Dolphins, the Buffalo Bills, and the Cleveland Browns now compete for the postseason in 2020! Novel concept, eh? The same way that these teams were given opportunities to turn things around is the same opportunity the New York Jets should be given too. So, if you just do not like the New York Jets- just come out and say so! I think more fans would have respected that opinion more than veiling your feelings behind the moniker of “American Sports”. And, it probably would have saved you from being completely roasted on social media. Maybe next time try putting yourself in the shoes of the ‘average joe fan’ who invests their time and money in their favorite franchise regardless of status before you belittle them.


The Jets Fired the Wrong Guy This Week…

The Jets Fired the Wrong Guy This Week…

When the New York Jets lost a heartbreaker of a game to the Las Vegas Raiders 31-28 on Sunday December 6th, the focus was not on the fact that the Jets played their most competitive game of the 2020 season thus far. The focus was not on the fact that the Jets running game (after losing RB Frank Gore to a concussion early in the game) took a major step forward with RB’s Ty Johnson and Josh Adams and, even produced its FIRST 100-yard rusher of the season. The focus was not on the fact that the Jets showed some personal pride and rallied from a 24-13 deficit to take the lead 28-24 with 5:34 left in the game and the Jets Defense coming up huge on the ensuing Las Vegas drive stopping the Raiders on a 4th and 3 in the red zone. What the focus was on was a terrible play call by Jets Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams on the final play of the game- a play which ultimately cost the Jets the football game and Williams his job as DC the very next day.  To paint the picture for those who may have not watched the game, The Raiders had a 3rd and 10 with 5 seconds left to go in the game so, the obvious play that would have to be defended would be a “Hail Mary” pass to the endzone. Simple, right? Well, not for the 2020 New York Jets! Coach Williams made the decision to stack the box and send a “Zero Blitz” after Raiders QB Derek Carr instead of playing a “Prevent” defense- the scheme that usually designed to defend against plays like the “Hail Mary”. Now, a “Zero Blitz” is when you are pretty much sending “The House” to attack the QB. In doing this, you take away any extra deep coverage for your DB’s on either side of the field so, they would be lined up in what is called ‘man to man’ coverage. So, if your opponent has a fast receiver, like the Raiders have in Las Vegas WR Henry Ruggs III, they can typically beat the coverage and provide their QB with a wide-open target. Carr was able to escape the blitz and pass to Ruggs who beat rookie CB Lamar Jackson for the game winning TD. Raiders 31, Jets 28. And, let the media firestorm begin! To be fair, it was a very crappy play call by Williams in that situation but what the focus should have been on was the series before the Raiders final drive of the game. The Jets had the ball with 1:37 left to go in the game with their offense on the field. The Raiders had 2 timeouts left at that point so only 2 more chances to stop the clock in the hopes of maybe getting one more possession. Jets HC Adam Gase calls 3 straight running plays which gain a total of 5 yards. By the time the Jets had to punt the ball, there was only 42 seconds left in the game- a game that had the Jets gained a first down, all it would have taken to secure the Jets first victory of the season was a Sam Darnold kneel-down to run out the clock. So, my question is where is all the outrage for HC Adam Gase’s conservative play calling during that drive when the Jets could have ended the game right there? Why is the media outrage only directed at Gregg Williams for his crappy play call? If you really think about it, the Raiders game-winning drive was more a product of Gase’s incompetence than Williams’s in my opinion. Now I don’t want to make this sound like I am defending the actions of Gregg Williams because in a situation like that, he should know better but, should the game have ever gotten to that point at all? This is just one of a myriad of reasons why Adam Gase is not the right coach for the New York Jets- not now, nor in the future. And, HE is the man who should have lost his job this week, not Williams. How much more embarrassment do the Johnson’s need to experience before they realize that they have made a huge mistake? And how much more will the Jets fan base continue to tolerate before they say “Enough is Enough”? Welcome to the 2020 New York Jets season- the gift that keeps on giving!