While quarterback Sam Darnold is still finding his way in the NFL, it’s clear he trusts his weapons on the outside. Against the Lions, the Jets receivers accounted for 10 of Darnold’s 16 completions and 153 of his 198 passing yards.
“The receivers have been great, especially for me being a rookie quarterback,” he said. “It’s been awesome to communicate with them every single day, just to develop the chemistry we have. They’ve been nothing but the best.”
Darnold found Quincy Enunwa early and often as Enunwa, who missed all of last season with a neck injury, was the target on 10 passes, six of which he caught for 61 yards, including a 21-yard score.
“First of all, Q’s a great dude, so it’s easy to develop a rapport in that way,” Darnold said. “But just how smooth he is in his route running — he’s smooth, but he’s also physical and he’s very sudden. He’s a very quick dude, so it’s awesome to be able to throw to him. The routes he runs are very crisp yet very violent at the same time. It’s cool to be able to throw to him and see how much separation he creates for himself. It’s fun when you’re throwing to receivers like that.”
Perhaps a reason for their chemistry could lie in the location of their lockers at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Darnold’s locker is sandwiched between a pair of receivers — Enunwa and Jermaine Kearse, who was a full participant in Wednesday’s practice after missing Week 1 with an abdomen injury.
“It helps a lot,” Darnold said. “We were joking the other day that when I found I was going to be between both of them, I said, man, this might be a long year, 'I want the ball, no give it to me,’ but it was all fun and games.
“It’s been awesome to be able to talk to them every single day after practice, talk to them about certain routes — what I like and don’t like and what they like and don’t like. It’s cool to be able to communicate with them every single day after practice and again to develop that rapport we have with each other, that consistency and chemistry that really helps us throughout the season.”
Time will tell regarding Darnold’s chemistry with his other locker neighbor (Kearse), but you don’t have to sit next to the USC product to get the ball. The Jets' top three receivers Monday night, Robby Anderson, Terrelle Pryor and Enunwa, all had at least one catch for at least 20 yards. But the 21-year-old feels his chemistry with the group is scratching the surface.
“I trust them fully, but it’s continuing to get used to each other and used the speed,” he said. “What a certain guy is going to do on a certain route in terms of option routes, how they’re running a seam, how they’re running an over route. Every guy is different and I’m just trying to get a feel for that because the faster I do that, the faster the ball is going to move.”