For the majority of the summer, Jets offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates touted rookie quarterback Sam Darnold for owning the playbook. After three weeks of live bullets, Bates believes Darnold has done a nice job calling plays in the huddle.
"As far as the communication with Sam, he's extremely bright," Bates said. "He can spit out the plays. There are certain situations where we have wristbands when the plays are a little bit longer. So, we do that. We do a little bit of both. As far as getting in and out of the huddle, I think it's been good execution."
The only difficulties the Green & White have had in communication involves technology. Bates said the headsets stopped working in all three games, so the team turned to its hand signal system that was implemented against the Browns.
Through three games, Darnold has completed 60.2% of his passes and thrown for 701 yards, three touchdowns and five interceptions. Like any rookie, the USC product has shown flashes of brilliance and times of struggle. Moving forward, Darnold said he's focusing on being more decisive with his reads, something Bates said they're working on.
"We've got to believe in it and he's going to continue to do that," he said. "Obviously, he's still young, but when he believes in his progression and he believes in his stroke, good things happen. So, we are going to continue to work on that. He's going to work on that this week, he's going to work on it next week and he's going to work on it the rest of his career. You can always play faster, no matter what year you are."
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Even though wide receiver Quincy Enunwa has often been on other end of the 21-year-old's throws, Bates said the rest of the unit has to stay positive because "you never know when that time comes where your moment breaks out."
Robby Anderson, who emerged in 2017 with a career-high 941 yards and seven touchdowns on 63 receptions, has been quiet after a 41-yard score in Week 1. Bates is trying to get him more involved along with the rest of the receivers, but the defense dictates where Sam goes with the ball.
"He's working extremely hard, blocking in the run game," he said of Anderson. "He's doing the little things. Sometimes the safeties go over the top of him. He hasn't had that breakout game. You just never know when that's going to be. He's going to stay positive and keep working."
Bates added about wideout Jermaine Kearse, "He's a team leader. Obviously, he missed the last couple weeks of preseason, but he's back. He's healthy and we're excited to feature him some more."
The Jets receivers face a difficult challenge this weekend as the Jaguars feature the No. 3 passing defense and have a pair of All-Pro corners on the outside in Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye. The Jags defense is aggressive and fast, and Bates is excited for the chess match.
"I think you've got to just stay within the system a little bit," he said. "You've got to take care of the ball. You've got to stay in manageable down and distance. You don't want to get behind the chains. If that's passing the ball, if that's running the ball, we are going to do whatever it takes to win the game."