Yes, Sam Darnold is the real deal.
Don’t judge him by his numbers – 8-for-11, 62 yards, one INT, two sacks — against Washington Thursday night.
It doesn’t matter what Keyshawn Johnson or anyone else has to say.
Darnold did a number of good things that solidified his stance.
He was able to move out of the pocket and throw and connect on the run, that was despite having a makeshift offensive line.
He took a cover sack instead of trying to squeeze the ball to someone.
He looked poised and confident in the pocket, not like a rookie trying to find himself.
His interception was a tipped ball, not thrown at someone.
So far, Darnold has passed all the tests.
Give him another one.
Let him start against the Giants next Friday. This will be the final test, and head coach Todd Bowles will have to make the decision on whom to start, the one he referred to as “cloudy.”
If the Jets can tighten their line woes by next week, Darnold could have a good night against the Giants’ defense.
Their secondary and linebacker pass coverage looked a bit better against Detroit except for the running back who slipped past Alec Ogletree for a score.
The Jets need to unleash Darnold against another No. 1 defense again to make their decision. The health of the offensive line could come into play on this one.
Bridgewater, too, should see plenty of time against the Giants.
Like Darnold, he also could be plugged into as the Week One starter.
With Bridgewater’s knee issues, it would be good to see him gain some significant time. Yet, Bridgewater was pretty mobile against Washington and didn’t show any negative signs.
This can become a sticky situation for Bowles, deciding on who gets the start and how to divide the playing time.
Bowles likely won’t make the call until the final week even if he probably already has chosen one.
Josh McCown also needs to get in the mix, but Bowles could play him against the Eagles.
Darnold will make mistakes and he may make some against the Giants.
But let’s not push any panic buttons or think about the playoffs yet.
Instead, enjoy the moments. The Jets have a franchise quarterback and one who can be a stop-gap or a trade chip.
Chances are, they can’t make a wrong choice to start either one.
Just take one last look.