Not pretty but progress: Jets give Red­skins look into fu­ture

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - SPORTS - By STEPHEN WHYNO AP Sports Writer

LANDOVER, MD. (AP) >> When the New York Jets take the field on Sun­day, the Wash­ing­ton Red­skins could see a glimpse into their fu­ture. It’s not pretty, but it’s progress. The Jets are en­dur­ing a tough sea­son un­der first-year coach Adam Gase and young quar­ter­back Sam Darnold they hope will be the foun­da­tion of longterm suc­cess. It’s a rea­son­able blue­print for the Red­skins, who this week named first-rounder Dwayne Hask­ins their start­ing quar­ter­back and could hand the coach­ing reins next sea­son to some­one with more say over per­son­nel than the pre­vi­ous regime.

This meet­ing be­tween New York (2-7) and Wash­ing­ton (1-8) is Hask­ins’ first game as the full­time starter and a step to­ward fol­low­ing the Jets’ lead.

“You drafted him as a high first-rounder, and you’ve got to fig­ure out what he brings to the

ta­ble,” Red­skins right tackle Mor­gan Moses said. “We all know it’s a busi­ness and ob­vi­ously we have an in­terim head coach in (Bill) Cal­la­han, and so, if he’s go­ing to be the head coach or who­ever’s go­ing to be the next coach, you’ve got to fig­ure out what this kid has.”

Un­like the Jets, who started Darnold im­me­di­ately after draft­ing him third in 2018, the Red­skins have been cau­tious about throw­ing Hask­ins in the deep end after se­lect­ing him 15th in April. Since­fired coach Jay Gru­den and Cal­la­han leaned on vet­eran Case Keenum in­stead.

Per­haps that’s be­cause Hask­ins, de­spite all his tools at his po­ten­tial, didn’t flash the same NFL-ready look as Darnold did com­ing out of col­lege. Wash­ing­ton’s coach­ing staff got an up­close look at Darnold dur­ing joint work­outs at training camp in the sum­mer of 2018, and he looked pre­pared to get the nod right away.

“I thought he was ahead of the game,” Cal­la­han said. “I thought he was ma­ture, he un­der­stood the game, he knew where to go with the ball, his de­ci­sion-mak­ing was good and it’s only get­ting bet­ter.”

Darnold still has plenty of grow­ing pains. Be­fore beat­ing the Gi­ants last week, he threw nine in­ter­cep­tions in his pre­vi­ous four starts. And Gi­ants rookie QB Daniel Jones — taken nine spots ahead of Hask­ins at No. 6 — has eight in­ter­cep­tions to go along with 15 touch­downs since tak­ing over as the starter in Week 3.

Hask­ins has four in­ter­cep­tions and no touch­downs in three ap­pear­ances, in­clud­ing his first NFL start Nov. 3 at Buf­falo, but that’s part of the process the Red­skins are now div­ing into.

“Mis­takes, it’s go­ing to hap­pen, es­pe­cially when you’re a young guy at the quar­ter­back po­si­tion,” Wash­ing­ton run­ning back Adrian Peter­son said. “You’re go­ing to make mis­takes. Look at both guys in New York. They have had a lot of mis­takes — way more mis­takes than our young guy. The way that you keep that re­spect with the vet­eran guys is com­ing out, be­ing on point and ex­e­cut­ing your stuff. That’s what he’s been do­ing. We’re go­ing to con­tinue to ride with him.”


Jets chair­man and CEO Christo­pher John­son gave Gase a vote of con­fi­dence ear­lier in the week, say­ing he’ll re­main coach not only through this sea­son but for next sea­son, too.

Gase was hired last Jan­uary after three sea­sons in Mi­ami and has a ca­reer reg­u­lar-sea­son record of 25-32 as a head coach.

John­son cited the var­i­ous in­juries to key play­ers this sea­son, in­clud­ing 14 starters who have missed a to­tal of 53 games, as a ma­jor rea­son for the strug­gles. He also in­sisted he be­lieves in Gase be­ing the right coach to help Darnold progress, and sta­bil­ity is a key for a young quar­ter­back.

“It’s ab­so­lutely im­por­tant, but that’s not why I’m keep­ing Adam, but it’s cer­tainly a com­po­nent,” John­son said. “Chang­ing sys­tems year after year is just a dis­as­ter, for a young quar­ter­back, es­pe­cially.”


The Red­skins aren’t just get­ting a look at their QB of the fu­ture but also the guy they hope is their run­ning back for years to come. Sec­ond-year back Der­rius Guice is set to play for the first time since in­jur­ing his right knee Week 1 and will make his home de­but after miss­ing all of 2018 with a torn ACL in his left knee.

“It’s great to have him back,” Cal­la­han said. “I know he’s itch­ing to get back on the field and work and play. He’s worked well the last two weeks and you can see his ma­tu­rity and his mat­u­ra­tion process only get bet­ter. I think the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion process takes you through that, puts you in­ward a lit­tle bit men­tally and re­ally take in­ven­tory about where you’re at and how im­por­tant the game is so that when those op­por­tu­ni­ties come back up again you take full ad­van­tage of those.”


Jets safety Ja­mal Adams had the best game of his young ca­reer last week against the Gi­ants, a per­for­mance that earned him AFC de­fen­sive player of the week hon­ors.

Adams had a team­lead­ing nine tack­les, two sacks, two forced fum­bles and a fum­ble recovery that he re­turned 25 yards for a touch­down after he ripped the ball out of Gi­ants quar­ter­back Daniel

Jones’ hands.

Adams, who made the Pro Bowl last year in his sec­ond sea­son, joins Don­nie Abra­ham (2004), Erik McMil­lan (1989) and Dar­rol Ray (1980) as the only Jets play­ers to re­turn a fum­ble and an in­ter­cep­tion for a TD in the same sea­son. Adams had a 61-yard INT re­turn at New Eng­land on Sept. 22.

“He may talk a lot,” line­backer Jor­dan Jenk­ins said with a smile, “but if he keeps do­ing that, I can deal with it.”


The Jets have been stingy in run de­fense this sea­son, hold­ing op­po­nents to 3.01 yards per carry — the low­est mark in the NFL. That’s after the Gi­ants’ Saquon Barkley man­aged just 1 yard on 13 car­ries last Sun­day, the worst game of his ca­reer.

New York also leads the league with 69 tack­les for no gain or neg­a­tive yards, ac­cord­ing to Radar360. The next clos­est team is Tampa Bay with 53.

“That’s what we do best: stop the run,” nose tackle Steve McLen­don said. “It doesn’t stop there. The work never stops. Like I al­ways say, the gym is al­ways open, so you (have) to keep work­ing.”


FILE - In this Oct. 27, 2019, file photo, New York Jets head coach Adam Gase, right, talks to quar­ter­back Sam Darnold (14) on the side­line prior to the start the first half of an NFL foot­ball game against the Jack­sonville Jaguars, in Jack­sonville, Fla. The Jets are en­dur­ing a tough sea­son un­der first-year coach Adam Gase and young quar­ter­back Sam Darnold they hope will be the foun­da­tion of long-term suc­cess.

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