The Jets have entered the final four-game stretch of the regular season and they are preparing to take on the Dolphins Sunday for the second time this year. And with only a quarter of football left in 2019, QB Sam Darnold is still focused on nailing down the fine details in his game.
“For me, I can always work on my feet,” Darnold said. “I think I've just got to make sure that my feet are set in the direction that I want to be throwing and not trust my arm as much as I have been. I think making sure that my feet are in the right spot, so I can make all the throws on the field that I need to make — that's one thing. Another thing is continuing to be good with ball security, which I feel like I've done a better job of the last few games. Then, there's a bunch of stuff with the offense, with protection, all that stuff that I can continue to get better at and improve on.”
During Weeks 6-9, Darnold struggled with turning the ball over as he recorded 5 touchdowns, 9 interceptions and 1 fumble lost. However, a bounce back was on the horizon as he established a rhythm in the third quarter of the season, recording 2 rushing TDs, 7 passing TDs and 1 INT. Personal improvements aren’t all the second-year gunslinger hopes to achieve, though. His aim to involve the offense’s biggest playmakers while also making sure the team is putting up points requires a hefty balance.
“There definitely is a fine line,” Darnold said. “My job is to make sure the ball is moving down the field however that ends up. Whether it's Robby (Anderson) or Jamison (Crowder) with a 100-yard game or Le'Veon (Bell), it doesn't matter to me as long as we're moving the chains and we're scoring points. That's the only thing that matters. So, I just need to continue to keep doing my job and make sure that this team is executing to our full potential.”
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One playmaker that Darnold has leaned heavily on this season in is Bell. Leading the team with 183 rushing attempts for 589 yards and 3 TDs, the 6’1”, 225-pound versatile back has also racked up 403 receiving yards and 1 receiving TD. Bell will have another chance this week to impact the game as the team faces a Miami defense that is ranked 31st in the league in rushing yards allowed per game (143.5), and 27th in the league in rushing yards allowed per play (4.68).
“We've just got to keep working it,” Darnold said. “He's (Bell) obviously a great player and we all know he is, and we know his potential. It's just about continuing to work out the fine details as a team, as an offense and make sure that we just execute the plays that are being called. That's our job and if we do that, I feel like more guys are going to have explosive games, including Le'Veon.”
The Green & White will match up with a 3-9 Dolphins team that is coming off an upset against the Eagles. And while injuries have plagued the Jets all year, the 22-year-old QB is physically prepared to grind out the rest of the regular season.
“I feel really good physically,” said Darnold, who battled a bout of mono before playing through a toenail removal, a sprained thumb and knee and rib ailments. “I've just got to make sure that I'm doing all the right things to keep my body in check this late in the year.”