Darnold

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - SPORTS -

“It was cold to­day, but I had a lit­tle wet suit un­der­neath,” Darnold said with a big grin. “So, I was re­ally warm and felt like I didn’t re­ally need long sleeves. I just kind of went with it.”

Added Bowles: “This is go­ing to be about how it’s go­ing to be on Sun­day, so I’ll think he’ll be fine. He’s 21, he’ll shake it quick.”

Darnold re­turned to prac­tice on a lim­ited ba­sis last week , but was not ac­tive last Sun­day as McCown started in his place for the third straight game. Bowles said the No. 3 over­all pick was work­ing on shak­ing off the rust by get­ting his tim­ing right.

“He looked fine,” Bowles said of Darnold’s per­for­mance Wed­nes­day. “I mean, he threw the ball around pretty good, but it’s Day 1, so we’re trend­ing.”

Darnold ac­knowl­edged that there’s oc­ca­sional sore­ness as he works his way back from the foot in­jury, the de­tails of which haven’t been dis­closed other than the team call­ing it a “strain.” The quar­ter­back was in a walk­ing boot for a few days af­ter the in­jury and has been grad­u­ally im­prov­ing dur­ing the last four weeks.

“I knew it was three or four weeks, but for me it was re­ally just de­pend­ing on how I felt, if I felt ready to go, so hope­fully this week,” Darnold said. “So far af­ter that last prac­tice, I feel re­ally good, so I’m re­ally hop­ing to get back out there this Sun­day.”

The 39-year-old McCown had one touch­down pass and four in­ter­cep­tions fill­ing in for Darnold, and the Jets went 0-3 in those games.

Darnold still leads the NFL with 14 in­ter­cep­tions de­spite miss­ing three games, but will try to jumpstart an of­fense that has strug­gled dur­ing New York’s six-game los­ing streak.

“It’s been tough,” Darnold said of sit­ting out a month. “It (stinks). Josh has done a great job, hon­estly, of ev­ery­thing, re­ally han­dling ev­ery­thing the way he has has been amaz­ing. But for me, watch­ing and not hav­ing a chance to do any­thing about it (stinks), but at the same time it is what it is and I knew that go­ing into it.

“So, I was just try­ing to get healthy ev­ery sin­gle week and come back and hope­fully this week is the week.”

If Darnold re­turns this week, it will be the first time he’ll take on Buf­falo’s Josh Allen, who was taken four picks af­ter New York took its quar­ter­back.

Darnold and Allen got to know each other well dur­ing the months lead­ing up to the draft, both work­ing with Jor­dan Palmer and pre­par­ing for the next step in their foot­ball ca­reers. Darnold said it would be “fun” to face Allen, even though he knows the Bills rookie — who set a Buf­falo record for quar­ter­backs with 135 yards rush­ing last week against Mi­ami — could be trou­ble for the Jets’ de­fense.

“The dude is a freak ath­lete,” Darnold said. “He’s so big and runs so fast and can throw the ball a mile. He’s a hand­ful for de­fenses all around the league, but I know that — like I’ve had — there’s just some dif­fer­ent looks that you go against than col­lege. So he’s, just like I’ve been hav­ing, a lit­tle bit of rookie strug­gles and not see­ing some of the de­fenses.

“I think for both of us it’s just about con­tin­u­ing to get those reps, but Josh has been do­ing amaz­ing.”

NOTES: OL Spencer Long didn’t prac­tice be­cause of an ill­ness, along with knee and fin­ger in­juries. RB Isa­iah Crow­ell (toe) also sat out . ... WR Quincy Enunwa (an­kle) and TE Jor­dan Leggett (knee) were both lim­ited. ... S Mar­cus Maye had surgery Tues­day on his in­jured shoul­der. Bowles said Maye, who’s on in­jured re­serve, will need a few months to re­cover . ... LB Josh Mar­tin re­turned to prac­tice af­ter be­ing des­ig­nated for re­turn from IR af­ter miss­ing the past eight games with a con­cus­sion.

LYNNE SLADKY - THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

In this Sun­day, Nov. 4, 2018, file photo, New York Jets quar­ter­back Sam Darnold (14) walks off the field af­ter an NFL foot­ball game against the Mi­ami Dol­phins, in Mi­ami Gar­dens, Fla. The Jets have six games left and will be hard-pressed to even match the 5-11 records they put up in each of the last two sea­sons. New York has two games against New Eng­land, in­clud­ing a home matchup out of the break, and meet­ings with Ten­nessee, Buf­falo, Hous­ton and Green Bay _ no gimmes in the bunch. Darnold is still con­sid­ered the fu­ture of the fran­chise, no mat­ter how much he strug­gles this sea­son.

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