Earn With Blogs
Jets quarterback Sam Darnold is not waiting until training camp to get in some on-field work with his teammates.
Tailgate Party Time
Darnold has organized workouts with Jets skill players at the end of this week in South Florida, according to sources.
The workouts will take place at Bommarito Performance Systems in Aventura, Fla., on Friday and Saturday. Most of the Jets wide receivers, running backs and tight ends are expected to join Darnold. Running back Le’Veon Bell trains at Bommarito regularly and lives nearby, which may have played a role in how the makeshift camp ended up there.
Bell is expected to take part in the workouts as well as newly signed running back Frank Gore. Wide receivers Jamison Crowder, Denzel Mims and Breshad Perriman are expected to be there, as well as tight end Chris Herndon, who missed most of last season. Darnold has not worked before with Gore, Mims or Perriman, who are all new additions to the team. Only players currently rehabbing from injury are not expected to make the trip, such as backup quarterback Joe Flacco and tight end Ryan Griffin.
The Jets, like all NFL teams, have not been able to practice together this spring because of COVID-19 restrictions. The team has been conducting a virtual offseason program with video conferences. That program began on April 27 and ends Thursday. There will be no minicamp this season and the Jets are not expected to be back together until training camp begins in late July.
Darnold has been training near his home in Southern California, but is going to travel to Florida, where many of these players, including Bell and Gore, are based.
The 23-year-old is showing his leadership by organizing the sessions. But it is not new. A source said Darnold organized something similar last summer, but it flew under the radar.
It is reminiscent of former Jets QB Mark Sanchez, who organized practice sessions near his California home during three offseasons, starting during the 2011 lockout year. Sanchez named those “Jets West.”
Darnold is entering his third season with the Jets and his second in coach Adam Gase’s offense. Those things could lead to Darnold being a more active leader this season.
“I’m sure being the second year in the system I might help out some guys more often than I would have last year because last year I was still getting comfortable and trying to understand things the best I can,” Darnold said last month. “Right now, I think it’s just about continuing to do what I’ve been doing. I think as you grow those things happen naturally. I don’t plan on doing anything different. I’m sure as I grow and mature and continue to be the quarterback for this organization, I’m going to continue to mold into the leader that I’m going to become.”
Darnold completed 61.9 percent of his passes for 3,024 yards with 19 touchdowns and 13 interceptions last season, which was interrupted by a bout with mononucleosis that cost him three games. He said his goal is to be more consistent this year.
“There’s definitely room to grow,” Darnold said. “Throughout the back half of the season I thought I improved on a lot of things. I felt I got more consistent and was able to get more comfortable with the offense, so I think there’s obviously room to be better for this next year. For myself, I’m just trying to be as consistent as possible and play at a high level.”