Bowles mum on Jets starter, but all signs point to a re­turn­ing Darnold

Stamford Advocate - - Sports -

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — The New York Jets’ start­ing quar­ter­back against the Buf­falo Bills is … still to be de­ter­mined.

All signs in­di­cate it will be rookie Sam Darnold un­der cen­ter af­ter he was a full par­tic­i­pant at prac­tice all week fol­low­ing miss­ing three games with a strained right foot. Coach Todd Bowles de­clined, how­ever, to an­nounce Fri­day whether it will be Darnold or Josh McCown.

“We’ll de­cide that on Sun­day,” Bowles said. “Be­tween him and Josh, they both had good weeks.”

If Darnold plays, it would be his first game ac­tion since be­ing in­jured against Mi­ami on Nov. 4. Darnold was re­placed the last three games by McCown, who had one touch­down pass and four in­ter­cep­tions while the Jets went 0-3.

McCown fully par­tic­i­pated in prac­tice Fri­day af­ter be­ing lim­ited Wed­nes­day and Thurs­day by a sore back.

The 21-year-old Darnold is healthy, but Bowles’ de­ci­sion will be about whether the rookie has his tim­ing back af­ter a three-game lay­off.

“Just us de­cid­ing whether he’s ready or not,” Bowles said.

The coach added that Darnold be­ing a full par­tic­i­pant all week and McCown be­ing lim­ited most of the week wouldn’t play a fac­tor in the fi­nal de­ci­sion.

Bowles shed lit­tle light on what would go into the team’s de­ci­sion-mak­ing process. When asked what he saw from Darnold this week that he liked, he said sim­ply: “Just that he was healthy.”

De­spite the cloak-anddag­ger games­man­ship, Darnold is fully ex­pected to take the field against Buf­falo to face fel­low rookie Josh Allen.

Darnold ac­knowl­edged that the fi­nal four games are im­por­tant for him and the rest of the team, which is in the midst of a six-game skid, to fin­ish on a pos­i­tive note. Bowles said there are things Darnold can im­prove on as his first NFL sea­son draws to a close.

“Well, ev­ery­thing,” Bowles said.

Darnold has thrown for 1,934 yards, sec­ond to Cleve­land’s Baker May­field, among rook­ies. He has 11 touch­down passes along with the 14 INTs, but his 55.0 com­ple­tion per­cent­age and 68.3 quar­ter­back rat­ing rank near the bot­tom of the league.

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