Jets QB Sam Darnold is keeping the same one-day-at-a-time mentality despite the unusual circumstances of the virtual offseason program.
"Right now, I think we're just preparing like we normally would," Darnold said. "Obviously not in person, but we're still going through things as normal and we have a pretty good setup with how we've been meeting. Everything is good. The interaction with my teammates isn't there, but I've been texting and FaceTiming as much as I can without being a bother. Everything has been good. We're just trying to stay on task and focus on what we can right now."
Darnold said he's had an easy time working out because he can throw whenever he wants to with his setup. He worked again with Jordan Palmer throughout the offseason before the pandemic, aiming to fine-tune his certain fundamentals.
"I've been working on throwing to the right a little bit more," he said. "I feel like sometimes when I throw to my right it's been all arm, so I've been looking into trying to step into my throws and use more of my body and my legs going to my right. And then just continuing to work on deep-ball accuracy is also huge for me. I feel like I left a couple opportunities on the table last year and I'm looking to hit those throws this year."
Darnold, who is entering his third year in the NFL and second with head coach Adam Gase, finished last season with a 7-6 record despite missing three games with mono and improved his numbers in nearly every statistical category.
"There's definitely room to grow," he said. "Throughout the back half of the season I thought I improved on a lot of things. I thought I got more consistent and was able to get more confident with the offense. There's obviously room to be better for this next year and for myself. I'm just trying to be as consistent as possible and play at a high level."
Gase said Darnold will have to become an extension of the coaching staff given his knowledge of the offense, the circumstances that are preventing him from being with his teammates in person and the amount of new faces that include seven OL and three WRs. Gase told the media he expects Darnold's brain to work a lot faster in his second year in the offense and has already seen glimpses of it in meetings.
"Before he was asking a lot of questions, and now he's more telling us how he should have done something, which is great," he said. "When you're a coach and you start hearing a player talk like that, you get really fired up and you can see it's coming. He's really understanding this and he's understanding the why behind things. You can tell there's an irritation, too, when he sees mistakes made from last year, especially at the beginning of the year. That's not going to happen again and the longer we go in this thing, the better he's going to get."
As a leader, Darnold, who was a team captain last season, lets his play do the talking, but will speak up if need be.
"I think for me it's continuing to play good football and just be the same person I am off the field," he said. "Nothing is going to drastically change. I'm sure being in the second year of the system, I might help out some guys more often than I would have last year because I was still getting comfortable as best I could. Right now, I think it's about continuing to do what I've been doing.
"I think as I grow and mature and continue to be the quarterback for this organization, I'm just going to continue to mold into the leader that I'm going to become."