NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – New York Jets fans got their first glimpse of rookie quarterback Sam Darnold in action during Friday night’s preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons.
Any quarterback taken third overall in the draft is going to bring high hopes. So far in training camp, Darnold has exceeded those expectations, CBS2’s Steve Overmyer reports.
On Friday night, he stepped off the practice field and into an NFL game for the first time.
“It’s also about being able to get rid of the ball in a timely manner, like we just talked about, and being able to process that information, because we’re live,” he said before the game. “This will be the first time that we’re able to get hit.”
In camp, quarterbacks wear a red jersey, meaning no players can touch them. But the biggest part of a QB’s growth happens in the games.
“It’s fun to be able to have control of the offense. Obviously, I’m not exactly where I wanna be. There’s always growth that needs to happen. But I’m really excited about where I’m at,” said Darnold.
The coaching staff has put an emphasis on experience. So the rookie will get more playing time than expected. While he’s still third on the depth chart, he’ll be given every opportunity to prove himself as a starter.
But let’s remember, he’s a 21-year-old kid.
“I’ve never actually been able to say that I play football as my job, but now I can actually say that. It doesn’t really feel like that. It feels like I’m just playing football having a good time,” he said.
CBS2 asked 16-year veteran quarterback Josh McCown if he had any advice for Darnold in his first preseason game.
“Overall for every rookie, just enjoy the first moment you put the uniform on and go out there under the lights. Even (though) it’s preseason, it’s really cool,” he replied. “Realizing the dream that all of us have had. So that’s the main thing, just soak it up and enjoy it.”
McCowen, who’s expected to be the starting quarterback this season, has a daughter the same age as the man who’s trying to take his job.