Jets’ Darnold Says Shoulder ‘All Right,’ Unsure on Playing
Sam Darnold isn't sure yet if his sore shoulder will allow him to play Monday night.
The New York Jets quarterback practiced Friday for the first time this week after taking a hard shot to his right arm at Kansas City last Sunday.
"Yeah, it felt all right," Darnold said after being limited at practice. "Just taking it day by day."
Darnold missed two games last month after spraining the AC joint in his right shoulder against Denver on Oct. 1. He was reinjured against the Chiefs, but an MRI revealed no further damage. The quarterback acknowledged earlier in this week his shoulder was sore, and was noncommittal about playing against the New England Patriots.
"We'll see," he said. "Again, I think right now just taking it day by day is the best thing to do."
Coach Adam Gase said before practice that the key will be how Darnold's shoulder feels Saturday.
"Just really how he feels when he's throwing it," Gase said. "Last time we were kind of at this phase, all the throws looked fine, he had plenty of zip on the ball and he didn't have any issues as far as losing velocity on balls. It's just going to be about how he feels when he's throwing."
Darnold insisted earlier in the week that he wants to play if he's physically able, calling it his "worst nightmare" if he's sidelined but healthy enough to take the field.
Darnold has not played well in his previous outings against the Patriots, including a Monday night game last season when TV cameras picked up the quarterback saying, "I'm seeing ghosts" with the Jets trailing 24-0 in the first half. New York lost 33-0 and Darnold's comment - which referred to him misreading the defensive coverage - was splashed across social media.
"I mean, it is what it is," Darnold said when asked if he learned anything from that embarrassing experience. "Anything you say nowadays, people are going say different things about it. I don't know, I was able to move on pretty fast. It was a long time ago, but yeah, from when that game happened until now, I feel like I've grown a ton as a player and I've matured a lot."
He has struggled this season, though, along with the rest of the offense. Gase's unit ranks last in nearly every major category, and Darnold's numbers reflect that. He has just three touchdown passes with six interceptions, and his 65.9 quarterback rating is a career worst and ranks last among all QBs who have started at least three games.
Add that to the Jets' 0-8 start and it has been rough times for the 23-year-old Darnold.
"I think he's done a good job of focusing on staying in the moment," Gase said. "I think he's done a good job of trying to do more, study more, communicate better with his teammates, lead by example, be vocal when he has to. There's a lot of little things that people probably don't see that he's doing that's important for us to keep these guys to keep fighting, keep staying together and coming out and practicing and trying to do the right things.
"I know it's not easy when you're in that position when your record is what it is right now."
There might be some good news for Darnold and the offense: They could have all three of their projected starting wide receivers - Jamison Crowder, Breshad Perriman and rookie Denzel Mims - on the field together for the first time.
Crowder, who leads the team with 29 receptions and 383 yards receiving, was limited at practice, a positive step after he missed the last two games with a groin injury.
Perriman was a full participant after clearing the concussion protocol and appears on track to play for the first time since being injured against Buffalo on Oct. 25.
"They've been doing great at practice and we're excited to be able to see them, hopefully on Monday night," Darnold said.
In other injuries, defensive lineman Quinnen Williams (hamstring), linebacker Blake Cashman (hamstrings), wide receiver Vyncint Smith (groin) and tight end Trevon Wesco (ankle) didn't practice. Running back Frank Gore also sat out for his usual rest day.
Gase was unsure if Williams, who is off to a good start in his second season, will be healthy in time to play.
"I know he's trying to fight through this and he's trying to find a way to be there for us on Monday," the coach said. "We'll just kind of see what the next couple days bring us and how he feels."
Kicker Sam Ficken (right groin), center Connor McGovern (knee), offensive lineman Josh Andrews (shoulder) and defensive lineman John Franklin-Myers (knee), Nathan Shepherd (back) were limited. Linebacker Jordan Jenkins was full after being limited Thursday by rib and shoulder ailments.
NOTES: The Jets released CB Quincy Wilson, who was acquired from Indianapolis during the draft for a sixth-round pick. The 2017 second-rounder played in three games with the Jets, including one start, but hadn't participated in the last three. The move could open a spot for rookie CB Bryce Hall, who spent the first eight games on the reserve/non-football injury list.