Darnold on Day 1: 'I Love It'

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The book on Sam Darnold is he remains calm amid the madness. And as dozens of cameras followed his every move on the opening day of rookie minicamp, the Jets rookie quarterback stayed true to form.

"It's awesome. I love it," he said before practicing for the first time with the Green & White. "I understand it's part of the whole deal. I love it though. I'm embracing it and having fun with it."

Darnold, who was taken with No. 3 overall selection in the draft less than two weeks ago, has a simple plan of attack.

"Consistency. I think that's the biggest thing," he said. "I'm just going to come in here and be consistent every single day (and) do what I need to do: lift, eat right, get with Coach Bates, get with Josh and Teddy, learn everything that is installed that day. It's a daily process that I go through. If I treat every single day like it's the most important day, I think that's really where my success is going to come from."

On the field, Darnold showcased his comfortability throwing the ball on the move. In individual drills, he displayed his arm strength with a cannon shot and he had a nice sideline strike in team when the ball was released well before the receiver broke towards the boundary.

"Whenever I get the opportunity to play, make the most of it," he said. "But if I'm not in, take the mental rep and not take a play off. That's what I'm planning on doing."

Best Images from Friday's Practice at 1 Jets Drive

While Darnold is known for being successful off script, the typically stoic Todd Bowles took a page from his rookie quarterback and went outside his traditional playbook at his post-practice news conference. Bowles had fun with reporters, screaming that Darnold was "great" and adding that he wanted to play him right now. Following the comedic relief, Bowles  assessed Darnold's performance.

"He was good," he said. "Obviously we threw the ball around a little bit and he'll be getting better."

There were a couple botched center-quarterback exchanges in team and there were incompletions. But the rough patches are to be expected after receiving a new playbook, cramming and working with new faces at every turn.

"It's Day 1," Bowles said. "It's difficult to have evaluations period on Day 1. If it's the center exchange, you'd rather it happen today and you build towards having it better than it happen on Sunday Week 1 and then you lose a ball game over it."

Darnold won't turn 21 until June 5. The Jets won't play a regular-season game for four months and not many people will remember this initial workout in the years ahead.

"You go big picture in knowing his potential and thinking he can be a good quarterback for this team. If he stays healthy and gets everything down from a playbook standpoint and plays a lot of years, time will tell," Bowles said. "But we think a lot of him and obviously we took him at 3 because we think a lot of him. He's going to work and we're going to work with him and we'll go from there."

A gym rat who loves ball, Darnold looked the part today. He has natural leadership qualities and a thirst to get better. He understands his place as he starts a journey that could have a long road ahead.

"My goal is to do whatever the coaches ask me to do and that's how I'm going to go about it," he said. "If they want me to start, great. If they don't, great. I'm just going to be the best that I can be."

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