Sam Darnold era begins as New York Jets open season against Detroit Lions

Rookie quarterback Sam Darnold will make his debut for the New York Jets in the season opener against the Detroit Lions.

Jay Asser 2018/09/09

For the first time in what feels like a long time, the New York Jets have a feeling of excitement thanks to Sam Darnold.

The rookie quarterback will make his debut on Monday against the Detroit Lions as the franchise begins a new era.

After being drafted third overall in this year’s draft, Darnold beat out Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater in preseason, completing 29-of-45 passes for 244 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.

The Jets aren’t expected to be competitive in Darnold’s first season, but the franchise is hoping to see enough from the 21-year-old that he can be the foundational piece for the future.

In the meantime, Darnold will struggle to life a Jets roster that isn’t bursting with talent, especially on the offensive side of the ball.

The running game will feature Isaiah Crowell and Bilal Powell, while Darnold’s primary targets will be Jermaine Kearse, Quincy Enunwa, Terrelle Pryor and Robby Anderson, who was the team’s leading receiver last year with 941 yards and seven touchdowns.

In Detroit, Darnold will face a defence that gave up the sixth-most passing yards last season (243.3), but ranked 15th in passer rating against (84.1).

Matt Patricia’s arrival on the sidelines, however, could freshen up the unit and the team as a whole after the former defensive coordinator came over from New England.

Under former head coach Jim Caldwell, Detroit plateaued with consecutive 9-7 seasons the past two years.

Patricia had plenty of success with the Patriots against the Jets, so that familiarity should help the Lions in the opener. Darnold’s presence under centre and the unpredictability the rookie brings saps some of that though.

For the Lions offence, many of the same faces in the passing game return to flank quarterback Matthew Stafford, but after racking up the fewest rush yards in the league last year, Detroit are hoping the additions of veteran LeGarrette Bloutn and rookie Kerryone Johnson liven up the ground attack.

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Detroit Lions Matt Patricia New York Jets sam darnold