Sam Darnold never wants to miss a game, but his AC joint sprain in his shoulder is forcing him to do so on Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals after head coach Adam Gase announced veteran Joe Flacco will get the start.
So Darnold will have to be on the sidelines watching, something that he's done in each of his three seasons now. He had his foot injury during his rookie season, and his mono stint as well as a thumb injury in Year 2. He told reporters that there's something to learn from the experienced Flacco, but he'd be lying if he said he's content sitting there without his pads on.
“I’m definitely glass half full on this thing. I’m definitely going to learn from Joe. …Great player, got a lot of experience and I’m sure I’m going to learn a ton watching him play," he said. "But definitely want to be out there with the guys first and foremost.”
Darnold went back in to the Thursday night bout with the Denver Broncos after getting injured because doctors said it would be alright. But he admitted the next day wasn't the more pleasant with shoulder pain.
"The next day and even the day after, yesterday, it was rough," Darnold explained. "I’m trying to get better. I really am taking this one day at a time and seeing where we go from here.”
Hindsight is 20/20, but does Darnold have any second thoughts about returning to the game because of how it feels now?
"No. I mean at the time they told me I could go back in and play. So I did. I had adrenaline running. I was ready to go," he said. "I got hurt and wanted to go back out there and compete because I felt like I could. It didn’t hurt anymore after I went in. No, I don’t think it was a mistake at all.
“During the course of a game, you got adrenaline running through your body. For me, especially once I start playing a game, I want nothing more than to finish.”
Darnold added that the pain the next morning isn't something he's feeling for the first time. He suffered a similar injury in high school.
As SNY's Ralph Vacchiano broke down, it was the right move for the Jets not to rush Darnold back in to play. With an 0-4 record and a Jets team that has more wrong than just Darnold's injury, pushing him to play could do more harm than good.
He'll just have to wait it out at this point, get healthy, and try to help the Jets win some games whenever he feels 100 percent. When that will be is still up in the air.