The Jets drafted quarterback Sam Darnold in the first round of the 2018 draft, but Darnold’s arrival wasn’t enough to avoid a 4-12 record that was followed by the dismissal of head coach Todd Bowles, a shopping spree in free agency and, eventually, the firing of General Manager Mike Maccagnan.
With training camp getting underway this week, the question for the Jets will be what the arrival of the likes of Le'Veon Bell, C.J. Mosley, Jamison Crowder, Adam Gase and Joe Douglas means for the team. Darnold believes the result will be “a lot more wins” than the team had in his rookie season and that it is “absolutely realistic” to think about winning the division, although he stopped short of saying that falling short of the playoffs would mark this season as a failure.
“I don’t want to speak too soon on that,” Darnold said, via the New York Post. “I think it just kind of depends on how the season goes and all that. When you start the season, it’s Super Bowl-or-bust, every team has the same goal, so in that regard, yes. But there’s definitely stepping stones that you have to make up become a great team and kind of build that culture that I’ve been talking about. So I guess we’ll kind of see when the season kind of dwindles down here.”
In addition to his optimism about the team’s prospects, Darnold said he has more confidence in himself as a player than he felt a year ago. Having that translate to a leap in production on the field would be a plus for the Jets even if they don’t make the leap back into the postseason.