Sam Darnold shoulders blame for Jets' shortcomings during his tenure: 'I definitely didn't play good enough'

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Sam Darnold Jets on sideline with helmet off
Sam Darnold Jets on sideline with helmet off

When the Jets suit up on Sunday to play the Carolina Panthers, many of them will recognize who is quarterbacking on the other sideline. Some might even be anxious to hit him on defense when they take the field.

The Sam Darnold era in New York was short-lived and not at all what the team envisioned. In three seasons, after being selected No. 3 overall by the Jets in the 2018 NFL Draft, the USC product went just 13-25 before GM Joe Douglas -- taking over the team from Mike Maccagnan, who selected Darnold that year -- made the call this offseason to trade him to Carolina to make way for Zach Wilson.

But it wasn’t all on Darnold, as many Jets fans know. You can argue that he wasn’t built around properly – the offensive line and lack of weapons to throw to were big issues. However, the veteran who Darnold has grown into has him shouldering the blame for what Jets fans had to endure during his tenure.

“The Jets was kind of the first time in my life that I got something -- and that was taken away from me, for multiple reasons,” Darnold told ESPN’s David Newton.

“I definitely didn't play good enough in my stint there. And I put it on myself.’’

Darnold had tumult on an off the field. He had injuries that set him back. And then in 2019, a bout with mono caused him to miss the start of the year. Adam Gase’s lack of creativity and cohesion on offense the last two seasons also led to Darnold needing to force things with lackluster receiving help, and well, you know the rest.

As he starts this new chapter now, though, he doesn’t regret a single thing that happened in New York.

“I mean, obviously things didn’t go our way. I wish we would’ve won more games,” he told reporters in Carolina. “I think that’s pretty obvious but met a lot of great people there in New York. Have a lot of great friends who are still with the organization. So, yeah, I don’t regret anything.

“I think I didn’t do my job to the best of my ability. I think that’s really all there is to it.”

Now, he’s focused on winning his first game as a Panther. And of course, the schedule makers set up this matchup where he needs to take down his former team and the new quarterback who took his place.

Wilson and Darnold have crossed paths already on multiple occasions, and the latter believes the BYU standout will do well with Gang Green.

“I’ve met Zach a couple times. He’s a great guy. Great dude and I think he’s going to be a good quarterback.”