Sam Darnold Will Start vs. Cowboys if Cleared

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Jets QB Sam Darnold, who returned to practice last week on a limited basis, has one more hurdle to pass before returning to game action and the Green & White will know Tuesday whether Darnold will be available to them Sunday when they host the Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium.

“He’s supposed to run through all the tests tomorrow morning. We’ll have more information, so we’ll be able to plan out the week,” said head coach Adam Gase, who added, “If he gets cleared, he’ll start.”

Darnold’s offensive presence has been missed as the unit has averaged 165 yards in the three games he’s been sidelined due to mono. In the Jets’ 31-6 loss to the Eagles Sunday, the team amassed 128 yards, 88 of which came from RB Le’Veon Bell, and surrendered 10 sacks.

“It’s probably more than just Sam getting out at practice,” Gase said. “We have a lot of other things to clean up. Sam is able to hide things sometimes for us where if we make a mistake, he covers it up. I think we just need to do a better job as a group, making sure all 11 are on the same page.”

Gase said Week 5’s contest was “just a bad performance on the offensive side” and added the unit is shooting themselves in the foot too often. Unable to sustain drives, the Jets went just 3-of-14 on third down. Of those 14 third-down attempts, seven of them were third-and-7 or longer.

“It’s really screwing up our drives and putting us in bad positions, putting us in third-and-longs,” Gase said. “We’re not getting anything going and there’s no consistency. We have to just keep going to work, finding ways to come together as 11 guys on offense. If we can do that, that’s where we’re going to have consistency within our drives.”

Regardless whether Darnold returns for Week 6 or not, second-year TE Chris Herndon and LB Brandon Copeland each could make their season debuts as their four-game suspensions are over. Herndon is another playmaker for the offense and was a bright spot for the Jets last season, finishing second on the team with 39 receptions for 502 receiving yards with four touchdowns. However, Gase wants to evaluate Herndon and Copeland, who had a career year in 2018 with the Jets, before inserting them into the lineup.

“It’s going to be more getting them out at practice, seeing where they’re at,” he said. “Obviously you get an exemption when those guys come back. We’re going to see how that works out, it’s day-to-day. I won’t know until we get them out at practice.”

The Jets could be without DL Henry Anderson against the Cowboys after the veteran went down with a shoulder injury in the first quarter against the Eagles.

“Just seeing him walking around today, he’s obviously in pain,” Gase said of Anderson. “It’s going to be about how does he feel going through the week. If he doesn’t feel as though he can go out and perform at the level that he needs to perform at, then he’ll miss a game.”

Mike linebacker C.J. Mosley, who has been week-to-week with a groin injury, has missed the past three contests, but is nearing a return.

“That’s one we’re still kind of waiting on to see,” Gase said. “I think we’re close, I’m just not sure how close we are.”

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