It’s cloudy today, but the long-term forecast has plenty of sun and picturesque skies. Can you believe how far the Jets have come at the QB position since locker room clean-up day on January 1? The transformation has been swift and dramatic. Taking a flyer on Teddy Bridgewater is proving to be an ingenious move while the trade-up to No. 3 and the eventual selection of Sam Darnold looks better by the day. The Jets have three good quarterbacks who can play and win at this level. Josh McCown hasn’t taken a lot of reps over the past week, so we tend to forget that he is a highly accurate quarterback who knows the system inside and out and remains one of the better leaders in football. “Uncle Josh” might be 39, but he can play for a couple of more years in this league if he chooses to. And while he wants to play, he understands the Jets situation and the need to get both Bridgewater and Darnold reps.
We could write thousands of words on Bridgewater’s comeback, but let’s just focus on the moment. Bridgewater has progressively gotten better on the practice field and he’s completed 74% of his passes with two touchdowns in preseason play. He has moved well inside the pocket and got over the hump by taking a couple of hits (even though he shouldn’t be searching out for contact). While people seemed to believe Bridgewater had average to above average arm strength coming out of Louisville, the 25-year-old is getting the rock places in a hurry. In a game defined by inches, Bridgewater is throwing darts. This is a former first-round pick who connected on 65% of his passes in Minnesota and has a personality that people gravitate to.
Although he was a lot of people’s top quarterback in this draft class, Darnold has exceeded my expectations. Last week, I graded him on more than just the game. Taking the majority of reps with the first team, Darnold impressed both his teammates and the Redskins. He was good in the game, improving on his understanding of the play call and then getting his teammates up to the line quicker. Todd Bowles took the blame for the fourth-and-1 call that led to Darnold’s interception and I didn’t see much there in terms of open targets myself. He also lined up with a starting unit that didn’t include RB Isaiah Crowell, WRs Quincy Enunwa and Terrelle Pryor, TEs Chris Herndon and Nate Sterling and two regulars along the offensive line. Darnold’s feet are unique and his ability to throw on the run are what could make him an elite player in this league. He also sees the field so well — finding open targets is an art.
So where do the Jets go from here? Do you carry three? Does someone make an offer for McCown or Bridgewater that is too good to turn down? Do you give the kid the rock in Motown? I don’t know, but I know they are in an excellent position at quarterback.