Sam Darnold admits he hit the rookie wall but entering his second season the Jets quarterback is confident he's going to climb to a new level.
In 13 starts last season, Darnold finished with 17 touchdowns and 15 interceptions while completing 57.7 percent of his passes. Not bad for a rookie but Darnold knows he'll need to increase his production for the Jets to have a chance at the playoffs.
That's why Darnold is grinding this offseason to hone his skills.
“I worked on things that I really needed to work on. I think I did that my rookie offseason as well in terms of turning the ball over, but this last go-around — I was able to focus in,” Darnold said to New York Jets.com. “I was also able to watch a lot of my tape from this last year and really figure out how I want to get better.”
Darnold is especially focused on his mechanics. Darnold, who missed three games last season due to a sprained right foot, wants to drive with his legs more when making passes in order to reduce wear and tear on his upper body.
“I want to use my legs as much as I can to be able to thread balls in there, so that I’m not putting so much stress on my shoulder and my elbow because it’ll help me down the road in terms of shoulder being sore and elbow being sore,” Darnold said to New York Jets.com. “That’s kind of where I want to head towards and that’s really what I’m trying to work on this offseason.”
Now that he has a year of experience, Darnold is much more comfortable and determined to make the necessary strides to be a franchise quarterback.
"So many different, stressful environments that I was put in, but I definitely think it made me a better player and better person overall, so I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything," Darnold said to New York Jets.com. "But it’s definitely going to be a lot smoother this second go-around.”