Michael Pallas \ Aug 6th, 2019
The New York Jets need to protect their quarterback of the future, and the most important player in this is Sam Darnold.
The offensive line is the most important group of players on the football field in the modern NFL offense. That being said, the most important player in pass protection in the modern NFL is the quarterback, and for the New York Jets, it’s Sam Darnold.
Article 11 of the NFL rulebook outlines all of the rules protecting the quarterback in the pocket. With the way the NFL is protecting quarterbacks, it’s a shock the fans want to see more and more downfield throws. They’re exciting, but keeping the quarterback upright is the most important thing for all teams.
This is where Sam Darnold comes in. In the “One Jets Drive” series, Sam Darnold himself broke down his decision making in 2018. Several times he pointed out where he could’ve gotten the ball out quickly to an outlet receiver or one of the shorter routes that opened up, and he held on to the ball.
It’s a common mistake among rookies, but the longer a quarterback holds onto the ball the more likely he is to take a sack or get hit as he’s throwing the ball. The quicker he releases the ball, the less frequent the hits will be.
I am not saying don’t take shots downfield. They are a necessary component to winning football. It’s time to limit them.
The mantra of the league is 2.5 seconds or less. That’s for two reasons:
1. With the limited practice schedule, teams must limit exposing the weaknesses of the offensive line.
2. The rules protect the quarterback, and getting the ball out quickly does the same.
Even some of the worst NFL offensive lines can hold up for 2.5 seconds.
The Jets have quite a few receivers capable of producing YAC. So, the quicker he gets it to them, the better.
Robby Anderson will be an important piece to help stretch the field. That said, if he can develop the short and intermediate game, that would only do wonders for Darnold’s game.
Protecting the future of the franchise is the most important thing this season. Darnold can do it himself. Fans may not like the “dink and dunk” style but remember 2.5 seconds or less.
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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images