The New York Jets kicked off their first day of minicamp today in preparation for the upcoming 2018 NFL Season. The whole team was in full swing today, including New York’s trio of quarterbacks. Naturally, fans can assume that Josh McCown, Teddy Bridgewater, and Sam Darnold will be on the depth chart come training camp in July, and with today’s workout, they look to build on their efforts from the OTAs.
It is no surprise that Josh McCown would take the reins as starting quarterback come opening day. With his NFL experience he provides a veteran presence to the younger quarterbacks and a mentor for Bridgewater and Darnold. McCown was the first quarterback to participate in passing and team drills, building on his success at the OTAs. During his passing drills, McCown complete eight out of eight passes spreading the field with completions to his running backs, wide receivers, and tight ends. His best toss of the drill was his first when he threw a 30 yard pass to Neal Sterling; that would be McCown’s longest throw of the day. Once 11-on-11’s started, McCown was the first under center. In his first pass, he threw an incomplete pass to running back Bilal Powell but would follow up his next three throws with three completions to Jordan Leggett, Neal Sterling, and Chad Hansen. He also had a fumble after a bad snap with Spencer Long at center. In his second rep with the team, McCown finished six for seven and had a rushing first down. Even with a no contact practice, he was knocked down when the defensive lineman knocked the offensive lineman into him. During the red zone drills, he would go two for five finding Neal Sterling for one touchdown. Overall, it was a solid day for the current Jet’s starting quarterback, who doesn’t show any signs of slowing down at the age of 38.
After Bridgewater’s unfortunate knee injury in 2016 with the Minnesota Vikings, it was uncertain if he would ever play again. Now in 2018, Bridgewater is with the Jets where his goals are to continue working on being a leader, working on his base, and leading his group to be as successful as they can be. During the OTAs, Bridgewater appeared to be in good physical shape with no knee soreness. In today’s practice, he showed confidence on the field finishing 10 for 12 during passing drills after two drops from receivers. During the full team practice, Bridgewater finished the day six for ten but that included two drops from receivers; he did not throw during the red zone drill. With two more days left in camp, Bridgewater will get additional reps to improve and show what he can do on the field. The one bright spot with Bridgewater is that he did not show any signs of pain when in motion and was the quickest quarterback on his feet today.
As a rookie, Sam Darnold did not start the OTAs on a positive note but out of the three quarterbacks, he has considerably more potential and time to improve. Darnold stated that his main goal of today’s minicamp is to “continue to grow” and earlier today, McCown acknowledged how Darnold has shown improvement since the OTAs. That improvement certainly showed on the field today. Darnold finished nine for nine during passing practice and was just getting started. When it came time for the rookie to start under center, he did not disappoint, finishing 12 for 19 including a 40 yard pass to a wide open Robby Anderson who would take it home for a touchdown. Finishing his day off in the red zone, Darnold was two for four with a TD pass to Eric Tomlinson. He could have added a second TD if Devin Smith had not dropped a pass in the end zone. This, by far was the best showing from Sam Darnold as he looked confident and mentally prepared today, making smart passing decisions and showing more awareness of open targets on the field.