Jets’ Darnold limited at practice, hopeful about playing
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — Sam Darnold is getting closer to being back under center for the New York Jets.
The rookie quarterback was limited at practice Wednesday, a positive sign after he had sat out team drills since injuring his right foot more than three weeks ago.
“Felt really good today, got some action,” Darnold said after practice. “So, I’m just going to continue to do what I can to get better and see where we go from here.”
Darnold acknowledged his foot was “a little sore,” but has his sights set on being ready to play Sunday at Tennessee after missing the Jets’ past two games.
“I’m hopeful,” he said. “But at the same time, just seeing how I feel every single day, assess it after every practice and we’ll go from there.”
Darnold strained his foot against Miami on Nov. 4 and hadn’t previously thrown passes during quarterback drills during the half-hour window the media are allowed to watch until Wednesday. He said he took some snaps in team periods, and he and the team will continue to assess the injury throughout the week.
Darnold added that he had no issues with planting his foot or running. The team was scheduled to check in with him later Wednesday and again in the morning Thursday before practice to determine the next step.
“Yeah, definitely coming back after today and actually practicing on it being on it today, cutting and doing my drops, I’m interested in seeing how it feels tomorrow,” he said. “I’m pretty optimistic about it, though.”
Coach Todd Bowles was encouraged that Darnold was able to do more than he did last week during practice.
“We’ll see how the week goes,” Bowles said. “He did a little bit today. We’ll see how he progresses during the week.”
Darnold didn’t feel all that rusty despite the long layoff from practice.
“It felt pretty normal, for the most part,” he said. “Yeah, there were some times where I felt like my feet weren’t necessarily quick enough, but that just comes with a couple of more practices. But I felt really good, for the most part.”
Josh McCown has started the Jets’ past two games, but was also limited as he deals with a sore back and right hand, which he cut during New York’s loss to New England last Sunday.
“It’s coming along,” McCown said of his back and hand. “Just taking it a day at a time and just following the steps that they tell me to go through to get back and get ready to go.”
McCown was still the first quarterback taking snaps during quarterback drills, followed by Darnold and Davis Webb. The 39-year-old veteran has thrown one touchdown pass and three interceptions while filling in for Darnold.
Darnold still leads the NFL with 14 interceptions despite missing two games, and struggled in the three games he played before his injury. The No. 3 overall draft pick has had to balance making sure he’s completely healthy with being eager to get back on the field — even lobbying to play — to finish his rookie season on a positive note.
“Yeah, I want to play really bad,” he said. “But at the same time, I know that it’s a process and I’ve just got to go about protocol and understand exactly what I need to do to get better.”
NOTES: Darnold prompted some loud chuckles from reporters when he was asked about the helicopter hit McCown took to cap a 10-yard run for a first down in the third quarter against New England. “It was funny because right when that happened, Davis on the sideline, he buckles his chin strap. It was funny to see Josh kind of go after it because we all know the competitor that he is, so that was awesome.” ... S Marcus Maye didn’t practice with shoulder and thumb injuries. Bowles did not rule out the second-year safety ending up on injured reserve. ... WR Robby Anderson (ankle) and RB Trenton Cannon (hamstring) also didn’t practice. ... WR Quincy Enunwa (ankle) and LB Jordan Jenkins (shoulder) were limited.