The New York Jets desperately need some good news, particularly at the quarterback position.
There was a little bit on Monday, the day after the Jets’ bye. Sam Darnold, who came down with mononucleosis earlier this month and has missed two games, was cleared for non-contact work according to Jets team reporter Ethan Greenberg. There is a chance Darnold can play in Week 5 against the Philadelphia Eagles, Greenberg said, though he hasn’t been fully cleared yet.
After two miserable offensive games without Darnold, that’s a ray of hope.
Sam Darnold has missed two games
Darnold was ruled out of Week 2 with mono, then backup Trevor Siemian suffered a season-ending leg injury on a hit by Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett. The Jets had to turn to third-string quarterback Luke Falk, a 2018 sixth-round pick who had never thrown a regular-season NFL pass.
The results weren’t pretty. The Jets lost 23-3 to the Browns and then 30-14 to the New England Patriots. The Jets’ offense didn’t score against the Patriots; the touchdowns came on special teams and defense. They had 105 yards and six first downs in that game.
Thankfully for Jets fans, their quarterback should be back soon. Darnold said he feels 100 percent, wouldn’t discuss if his spleen is swollen, and then gave a memorable quote.
Darnold: "My spleen is going to do what it’s going to do.” #nyj— Brian Costello (@BrianCoz) September 30, 2019
Jets have struggled this season
There are health risks playing a contact sport with mono, and it’s an ailment that can sap someone’s energy. Presumably the Jets wouldn’t rush back Darnold if he’s not fully ready. Darnold, the third pick of the draft a year ago, is the Jets’ best hope for the future and an 0-3 team shouldn’t risk that.
Still, the Jets don’t want to sit through more games with six offensive first downs. Darnold has been up and down in his career but he’s obviously an upgrade whenever he can come back, even if he’s still feeling the effects of battling mono.
The Jets’ season is unlikely to get too much better, but at least the return of their quarterback should make it more palatable.
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