Barring any setbacks, Sam Darnold will start for the Jets against the Miami Dolphins at MetLife Stadium on Sunday after missing the last two games with a shoulder injury.
"I feel really good," he said. "I'm just continuing to take it day by day, but I felt really good [Thursday] and [Friday]."
Head Coach Adam Gase added: "It's been a good week for Sam. From the last time we were going through a week before the New England game, the way he's throwing the football right now, you can tell there's a big difference as far as the control, velocity and his chance of pace on throws. It just looks a lot different than the last time he tried to make a run at going to play in a game. I'm feeling good about that and excited to see these guys play in this game with the three receivers and the way [Chris] Herndon is playing. … I'm fired up to see what we can do on Sunday."
Earlier this week, Darnold said his biggest hurdle for him was trying to figure out how his shoulder would respond to a hit, which he couldn't simulate in practice.
"I think it's going to be fine," he said. "The doctors said it'll be fine, so I'm trusting what they say and I'm going to try and continue to do what I do and play my game."
He added: "Now that I can feel good and really trust myself that I'm out there at 100%, I think that's the biggest thing for me mentally. I can't wait to go out there and play Sunday."
Darnold will finally play with his projected starting wide receivers for the first time this season in Breshad Perriman, Denzel Mims and Jamison Crowder. He'll be facing a stingy Dolphins defense that has, debatably, the NFL's top CB duo in Xavien Howard and Byron Jones. Darnold said that the Miami defense knows its scheme well, but he is looking forward to the challenge.
"I just need to go out there and play my game," he said. "Play smart but continue to play aggressive. I think just balancing those two, obviously there's a fine line. Just have to play my game and play smart."
The Jets-Dolphins game in Week 6 was QB Ryan Fitzpatrick's last start for Miami. Rookie Tua Tagovailoa, the No. 5 overall pick, has started the last four games (3-1) and has thrown for 602 yards and 6 TDs while completing 61.9% of his passes. He hasn't thrown an interception yet but was benched for Fitzpatrick in the second half last week against the Broncos.
"He's a very accurate passer," defensive coordinator Gregg Williams said of Tua. "People don't give him enough credit for how well he throws the ball. He's athletic, he does all those great things, too, but he's very accurate. He understands the [run-pass option] game very well and what they're doing is a little bit different than when Fitzpatrick is in there. They do a lot of good things that accentuate his skillset and I've been very impressed with how he's adapted his game to the league."
See the Top Images from Practice Leading Up to Week 12
New RB Rotation
With La'Mical Perine on injured reserve with a high-ankle sprain, the running back rotation will change this week against the Dolphins. Frank Gore will be complemented by Ty Johnson and Josh Adams, who was signed to the active roster earlier this week. Gase has been impressed with Johnson since he joined the team onOct. 2.
"He's picked up the offense very quickly, he works extremely hard to try to do things the way that we ask him to do them," he said. "In every offense there are a little bit of tweaks here and there with footwork and landmarks and things like that with run-game stuff. His speed is real, you feel it. … The more touches we can give him, the more chances we can get him to see if he can hit a home run. I think that's something that we've just got to keep working through here the next six weeks trying to get him really going in that aspect."