Sam Darnold won't speak to the media about his return to Jets practices until Thursday, but today some of his targets did some talking for him. And they liked what they saw from their starting quarterback during practice.
"I thought he looked pretty good," Jamison Crowder said in the locker room after Darnold's first team drills of any kind after coming down with mono since before he played in the Sept. 8 opener against Buffalo. "He's been out three, four weeks but his first day back out of the bye week I thought was pretty good."
"He looks like he's good. He's confident," said Robby Anderson. "Me, I didn't feel like he looked like he was away. You could tell he was excited to be back."
Besides the quality of Darnold's non-contact practice, the wideouts also like the prospect of what Sam can bring to the offense as the Jets head into a vital road test against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday.
"It's a huge lift," said Crowder. "He's a guy who can sustain plays, he's a guy that can make those throws with accuracy. If we get him back, it'll be a huge addition."
See Best Images from Wednesday's Practice at 1 Jets Drive
And as Anderson put it: "I think that would take a big toll on us in a positive way to have our quarterback back. It's big."
For Anderson, the return of Darnold could help him bust out after his tough start out of the gate (10 catches, 115 yards, no TDs). Last year he had 10 catches of 20-plus yards, all from Darnold, and since his 2016 rookie season he leads the Jets with 39 catches of 20-plus.
Crowder, of course, had a dynamic Jets debut with 14 catches, all on Darnold throws, in the opener vs. the Bills, and he is familiar with the Eagles after having played them eight times as a member of the Redskins. In those games he had 24 catches for 252 yards and a TD.
Crowder liked head coach Adam Gase's plan to add some extra plays during team drills to practice, not just for what it can do for Darnold but for him and the Jets offense.
"Getting extra reps just kind of helps the team build that chemistry, gets Sam back in the groove of things, and also we need the work," he said. "I thought today was a good day and I'm looking forward to tomorrow."