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Jets QB Sam Darnold Wants to Beat the Browns; Not Worried About How They Passed Him Up in April

Sam Darnold appeared destined to go to Cleveland in the months leading up to the NFL draft.

Then, the Browns called an audible along the way and went instead with Baker Mayfield at No. 1 overall. After the Giants took Saquon Barkley next, the New York Jets ended up with the quarterback they wanted all along and Darnold was headed to the Big Apple.

“I thought I could’ve been there or several other teams,” Darnold said Monday. “I honestly haven’t even thought about it since I got drafted by the Jets. With (Cleveland) having the (No.) 1 pick, I guess there was a good chance I might have gone there, so I was thinking about it before. But ever since the draft, I haven’t thought about it.”

On Thursday night, Darnold will be in Cleveland. But as the enemy — and a reminder to Browns fans of who they might have had.

Not that Darnold, who’ll be making his third NFL start, has revenge or redemption on his mind.

“No, I’m just going to go out there and play ball,” he said.

Darnold has much more pressing matters at hand, such as trying to bounce back from a 20-12 loss to Miami on Sunday .

The No. 3 overall pick struggled at times with some missed opportunities and mistakes, as did the rest of the Jets. But Darnold also had some positive moments, and at 21 years and 103 days old became the youngest player to throw for 300 yards. He finished with 334 yards passing with one touchdown and two interceptions.

“Other than the two picks, I thought I played pretty well,” Darnold said. “So, I’m just going to continue to try to play as consistent as possible and find completions when I can and take shots when I can.”

Meanwhile, Mayfield hasn’t yet taken a regular-season snap for the Browns with Tyrod Taylor as the starter. The former Oklahoma star is considered the future of the franchise for Cleveland — a label that appeared reserved for Darnold.

“I was excited to go anywhere,” Darnold said. “Whoever wanted me, whoever wanted to pick me. As a top pick, it was a dream come true right when it happened. I wasn’t concerned with who was picking me, but more with where I was going and where I might need to spend the next, for now, three or four years.”

The Jets envision Darnold being around for a lot longer than that, and Thursday will serve as the next test — and step — in the young quarterback’s development.

The Browns are still winless since 2016, but they have a tie and a three-point loss through the first two games so they’re no pushovers.

Gregg Williams’ defense has already caused problems for the likes of Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger and New Orleans’ Drew Brees, and could be licking its chops to face a rookie at home in front of the Dawg Pound.

“First of all, I think his guys are ready to play every single game,” Darnold said. “They come out fiery and at the same time, they bring pressures that, sometimes, no one’s ever seen before. We’re going to be ready. I’m focused on what we’re doing, but also on what the defense is doing and how we can attack them.”

The Jets and Darnold will have to do a better job than they did for much of the game against the Dolphins. New York was just 3 of 10 on third downs, including 1 of 8 in the first half when it fell behind 20-0.

This will be the third game in just 11 days for the Jets, no easy task for a rookie QB. Darnold recognizes that this week’s preparation will be condensed even more than last week, when New York was coming off a Monday night game in the opener.

“It’s a different challenge, something I haven’t necessarily dealt with, but it’s awesome,” Darnold said. “It’s just another challenge for this team and we’re going to take it head on. Looking at Cleveland last night, it was moving on right after that game. We watched that game and then got right to Cleveland. Not the final score that we wanted. Obviously, we looked to come out of there with a win, but move on as fast as possible and get to Cleveland because it’s a short turnaround.”

Jets Officially Name Rookie Sam Darnold as Starter for Season Opener

It’s official – the Jets have a new quarterback, as the team will officially go with rookie Sam Darnold for their opener on Monday against the Detorit Lions.

The Jets have a new starting quarterback and a new face of the franchise.

Rookie Sam Darnold was officially named the starter Monday, coach Todd Bowles announced. He will become the youngest opening-day quarterback in NFL history. He will be 21 years, 97 days old when the Jets travel to play the Detroit Lions next Monday night.

Bowles said he informed both quarterbacks of his decision in a brief meeting before he announced it to the media. Bowles said it was “close, obviously.”

Explaining his choice of Darnold over the more experienced McCown, Bowles said Darnold gives them “a good chance” to win, but he never said “best chance.” In the past, Bowles has always maintained that he starts the players who give him the best chance to win.

“I think I can win with both,” Bowles said. “I think Sam’s growth gives us a chance to win with him right now, and that’s who I’m going with.”

Jets Set to Start Rookie QB Sam Darnold in Week One Vs the Lions

Jets rookie quarterback Sam Darnold will start Week 1 against the Lions on Monday Night Football, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports via Kevin Patra of

The 21-year-old quarterback completed 64.4 percent of his 45 preseason passes with two touchdowns to one interception, with an 83.9 quarterback rating.

Even with Bridgewater outplaying Darnold during the preseason, it was always the rookie’s job to lose. Wednesday’s trade of Teddy B confirmed as much.

Darnold impressed during the preseason with his ability to make reads, spread the ball around, an NFL-caliber arm, and improved pocket presence. Despite a middling 5.4 yards per attempt average and a reluctance to push the ball down the field, Darnold showed the Jets’ brass he can command the team and be a dynamic point guard of the offense.

Darnold will become the youngest QB to start a season opener since the 1970 merger — 21 years and 97 days old when the Jets play at Detroit — and the second-youngest QB to start a game regardless of the week — Tommy Maddox in 1992 at 21 years, 81 days for the Denver Broncos.

Jets Claim Free Agent Kicker Jason Myers Off Waivers

The Jets claimed free-agent kicker Jason Myers off waivers Tuesday, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reports.

Myers, who lost the Seattle kicking job to veteran Sebastian Janikowski, had made 81 percent of his field goals in 2 ½ seasons with the Jaguars.

Myers’ arrival surely means that veteran Cairo Santos, who has missed much of the summer with a groin injury, will get his walking papers.

Tensions High in Jets/Redskins Joint Practices Involving Former Redskins Now Jets WR Terrelle Pryor

There’s no love lost between Terrelle Pryor and the Redskins, Matt Stypulkoski of NJ Advance Media reports.

The Jets’ wide receiver and his former team came into this week’s joint practices surrounded by controversy. But for the most part, they’ve stayed out of trouble.

That changed Tuesday, though.

After Pryor went one-on-one with Redskins’ safety D.J. Swearinger, the two started jawing back and forth. That led to Swearinger throwing a fake punch, which Pryor fell for – and flinched in a major way.

That incident was just one of a few during the teams’ final joint practice on Tuesday.

Jets defensive end Nathan Shepherd got into a shoving and wrestling match with Shawn Lauvao during team drills, drawing a crowd. A little earlier, a full-team skirmish broke out between the Jets’ offense and Redskins’ defense, though no punches were thrown. Jets’ defensive back Rashard Robinson got into a verbal war with Redskins’ tight end Cam Sims during 7-on-7 drills, too.

That was tame compared to Sunday’s practice, though. The first joint workout between the two teams devolved into chaos with a handful of large fights, which Todd Bowles later admonished.

Jets QB Josh McCown Getting No Love in Recent QB Rankings

It’s not a big secret that Jets QB Josh McCown is not going to be the QB of the future after the team went out and drafted Sam Darnold from USC this past Draft.

For now though he’s not getting a lot of love from the website, which is ranking all 32 starting QB’s around the NFL.

McCown is ranked ahead of just four other QB’s of all the starters in the league. Here’s what they had to say about him.

2017 stats: 267-for-397 (67.3%), 2,926 passing yards, 18 touchdowns, 9 interceptions

It’s safe to say Josh McCown and the Jets were one of the biggest surprises of the 2017 season. Not only did many think the Jets would go 0-16, but McCown was expected to be nothing more than a body to help guide New York to the No. 1 pick in the 2018 Draft. Instead, the 38-year-old completed 67.3 percent of his passes and guided the Jets to a 5-8 record in the games he started. He doesn’t possess elite arm strength or accuracy, and obviously isn’t the longterm solution for New York, but he has proven to be more than capable of putting his team in a position to win. It’s only a matter of time until Sam Darnold takes over this spot, but McCown serves as a respectable place holder and a perfect role model for the young QB from USC.

Report: Jets QB Teddy Bridgewater Available in a Deal if the Price is Right

Teddy Bridgewater’s audition for prospective employers will begin in earnest in the Jets preseason opener Friday night, prompting inquiring minds to wonder whether it’s only a matter of time before the former first-round pick is traded, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reports.

The Jets don’t quite have an embarrassment of riches at the game’s most pivotal position, but they do have flexibility thanks to Bridgewater, who has designs on being an NFL starter after a grievous knee injury two summers ago nearly derailed his promising career.

The team will weigh the benefits of keeping a one-year rental versus acquiring an asset that could help them in the future (draft pick) or right now (player).

The Jets agreed to terms one one-year deals with Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater this offseason, but the 25-year-old Bridgewater potentially holds real trade value over the 17-year-old veteran.

“I know that’s a question that comes up,” general manager Mike Maccagnan recently said about whether he’d be willing to trade one of his three signal-callers. “Any time you have a number of players that you like at a position, it’s a natural thing (to think), ‘Hey, they may have a — I’m not saying we have a surplus… but some teams carry two quarterbacks. (So) you have the ability to potentially (think), ‘Oh, hypothetically we could do that.’

“But our big thing, quite frankly, is to see how all these players develop,” Maccagnan continued. “We like a lot of things that Teddy’s done this offseason. We obviously know Josh from having him last year and what he brings to the table. But I would say from that standpoint, it’s very early. We kind of want to see how these guys still grow and develop.”

Truth be told, the Jets want to fully evaluate Sam Darnold in the preseason before pulling the trigger on any potential trade involving Bridgewater. If Darnold impresses this month, the Jets would absolutely be open to trading Bridgewater, who’s scheduled to count $6 million against the cap. My understanding is that if Darnold needs more seasoning, then the Jets would hesitate to keep and start Bridgewater in the Monday night season opener against the Lions next month.

The best-case scenario for Gang Green, of course, is for Darnold and Bridgewater, who each will get a heavy workload against the Falcons on Friday, to impress in the preseason. That scenario would make it much more likely that Bridgewater is moved if a team comes calling for his services with an offer than makes sense.

“I live in the moment,” Bridgewater said about the possibility of being traded. “You control what you can control. For me, it is coming to work every day and putting forth my best effort, leading my group up and down the field, throwing completions and getting us in and out of the right plays. That is what I look forward to right now. Everything else will take care of itself. Right now, I have to live in the moment and trust the process.”

The league landscape will also play a role in whether the Jets ultimately keep or deal Bridgewater, who is 17-12 as a starter with playoff experience. The Jets would seemingly be the first call that any playoff-caliber team makes if it suffers an unforeseen injury to its starter this month. Remember, the Vikings ponied up a first- and conditional-fourth round pick two years ago for then-Eagles starter Sam Bradford after Bridgewater went down in practice in late August.

A team looking for a backup quarterback upgrade might also come calling. Could the Jets flip Bridgewater, who is scheduled to earn a $5 million base salary after only collecting $1 million this summer, for some draft capital?

Opinion: Veteran QB Josh McCown Looks the Best of All the Throwers in Camp So Far

Veteran Josh McCown has been “the best quarterback” in New York Jets camp and “shows no signs of losing the grip on his job” according to Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Monday that Sam Darnold “has a very fair shot” at Week 1 duties, but if he is going to dislodge McCown, it will probably have to be in the preseason. Regardless of who is under center for Week 1, both players should make starts in 2018.

McCown is 39 years old and has never played a full 16-game season in his 14-year NFL career and the odds of him doing so this season seem negligible. Plus top-5 QB picks rarely sit for their entire rookie season anymore.

The wild card in the whole scenario could be 25-year-old Teddy Bridgewater, who has also drawn raves this offseason and could be a factor either for the Jets of another team via trade if his knees can survive the preseason.