NEW YORK (AP) — Sam Darnold’s return to the huddle for the Jets could come Sunday.
The rookie quarterback will be monitored in practice this week before the team determines whether he will start against the Buffalo Bills. The first test will be whether he practices fully Wednesday when the Jets get back to work.
“That remains to be seen,” coach Todd Bowles said during a conference call Monday. “I expect him to be out there. We’ll evaluate him as he goes out there.”
Bowles said Darnold took “a great number” of snaps during practice last week and was healthy enough to play against Tennessee on Sunday. But Bowles and the Jets chose to start Josh McCown because the rookie would have some rust after missing two games.
Darnold strained his right foot against Miami on Nov. 4 and hasn’t played since.
“He was prepared, but you’re not going to come in three days as a rookie and be fresh off your reads and not have any rust to go in a ballgame and play on Sunday after you’ve been out for two weeks,” Bowles said. “You need some time to get your timing back and everything else.
“So, we’ll continue to give him reps and when I think he’s ready, he’ll play.”
The Jets are 0-3 with McCown as the starter, with the 39-year-old QB throwing one TD pass and four interceptions — including one that sealed New York’s 26-22 loss to Tennessee on Sunday. Darnold still leads the NFL with 14 interceptions, despite his three-game layoff.
Last week, the No. 3 overall pick said he was eager to play again, but also acknowledged he learned quite a bit from watching rather than playing. That said, the final four games would give Darnold significant experience and give him a chance to end his first NFL season on a positive note.
“I’ll just see where he is from an accuracy standpoint, a timing standpoint, (and) a rust standpoint,” Bowles said. “He’s got to see plays and I had him only throwing three (days) last week. He did get better and everything was fine, but he’ll get better even this week and then we’ll make that determination on Sunday.”