'You Can Get Excited About' New York Jets Quarterback Sam Darnold

Boomer and Gio
August 16, 2019 - 8:30 am

(WFAN) -- We could be talking sooner rather than later about Sam Darnold as one of the NFL's best quarterbacks, WFAN's Gregg Giannotti said Friday.

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Darnold looked sharp again in the Jets' 22-10 preseason win over the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday night. The second-year QB was 5-of-7 for 46 yards and led Gang Green on an eight-play, 66-yard touchdown drive to open the game.

"Yeah, there's some issues (with the Jets) -- kicker, cornerback -- but you might have a quarterback who is the talk of the NFL in 2019," Giannotti said on the "Boomer and Gio" show. "One of those guys that takes a major leap and is talked about as one of the best quarterbacks in football. I think we are close to talking about Sam Darnold in that breath."

Darnold shined despite the Jets being without offensive linemen Ryan Kalil, Kelechi Osemele and Brandon Shell and All-Pro running back Le'Veon Bell.

"You can get excited about him and not be over the top, but I really believe he is primed for a great year," Gio said. "And it's not just watching two preseason touchdown drives. I'm talking about the last three games last year ... where he was great, and now he's got, I think, a better head coach, a better offense and a better understanding of the game."

Jets quarterback Sam Darnold passes against the Falcons on Aug. 15, 2019, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
Photo credit Dale Zanine/USA TODAY Images

Another area of the team Giannotti was impressed with Thursday was the pass rush.

"Gregg Williams, the pressure, three sacks on Matt Ryan -- they were all over him," Giannotti said. "And that's something that when you have problems at the cornerback position and you're worried about what's going on there, something can cure that other than better players, and that's pressure on the quarterback. And they were all over him. I thought that was great for them."

In all, the Jets had five sacks and 14 quarterback hits.

As for the negatives, the kicking game remains a major concern. Last week, Chandler Catanzaro missed two extra points and then retired. His replacement, Taylor Bertolet, also missed two extra points against the Falcons.

"The last thing you want is to lose the field-position battle," Boomer Esiason said. "The last thing you want is missing a game-winning field goal attempt. The last thing that you want is a kick going out of bounds at the 10-yard line and giving the team the ball on the 40-yard line. I mean, so many little things can go haywire in that part of the game that you have to make sure that you are totally confident in the guys that you have doing that for you."

Might the Jets bring in another kicker to at least compete against Bertolet? 

"Look, Joe Douglas is standing right there on the sideline watching all this stuff unfold," Esiason said. "He's back in his office this morning. ... And he's just scouring all opportunities."

To listen to the open from Friday's show, in which Boomer and Gio also discuss the Mets' 10-8 win over the Braves and the Yankees' 19-5 loss to the Indians, click on the audio player above.

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