Sam Darnold and Josh Allen frequently staged mini-competitions when functioning out with each other in the offseason, but the Jets quarterback knows Sunday’s season opener at MetLife Stadium against Allen’s Bills actually is “go time.”
The second-year signal callers very first became friendly in the lead-up to the 2018 draft, with Darnold chosen third all round and Allen tabbed by the AFC East rivals 4 picks later.
They currently squared off as soon as as rookies, with Darnold throwing for 170 yards and a touchdown in a 27-23 Jets victory in Orchard Park on Dec. 9. As divisional foes, it is effortless to envision Darnold and Allen beginning against every single other for years to come.
Darnold and Allen have been ranked 31st and 32nd, respectively, amongst NFL quarterbacks in passer rating final season, and the prospective return to contention for each teams — this year and in the future — is tied heavily to the maturation of their young franchise players.
“It’s going to be enjoyable to go up against him the second go-about,” Darnold stated soon after practice Thursday in Florham Park. “It’s enjoyable to consider about. Even on draft evening, we talked about it a small bit, jokingly, but now that it is basically right here, it is really really serious.
“We’re each really competitive folks.”
Certainly, Darnold stated the two throwing partners competed in many drills “all the time” when coaching with each other in California. The Jets’ quarterback claimed to have come out on leading in throwing accuracy, but concedes to his powerful-armed counterpart on lengthy-distance tosses.
“Yeah, that is a provided, he’s got me on that. He can throw it like 100 yards,” Darnold stated. “He beats me at distance, and then some of the accuracy drills I got him.”
Allen initially backed up Bills starter Nathan Peterman final season, but the six-foot-five former Wyoming quarterback ended up beginning 11 games, with 10 touchdowns with 12 interceptions, when operating for one more eight scores. He missed the other contest against the Jets with an elbow injury, with journeyman Matt Barkley fronting the Bills to a 41-10 blowout win at MetLife on Nov. 11.
Darnold, meanwhile, began in Week 1 as a rookie and 13 games all round, sitting out 3 games with a sprained ideal foot. He completed with two,865 passing yards, 15 touchdown passes and 12 interceptions.
The former USC star also was impressive — 17-for-25 for 211 yards, with two TDs and no picks — in restricted action in the very first 3 preseason games this summer season when studying a new offense beneath very first-year head coach Adam Gase and offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains.
Darnold stated he’s been speaking “a ton” to Gase about which plays he feels comfy operating.
“I consider I’m just in a distinctive location now,” the 22-year-old Darnold stated. “Being a rookie, going into my very first game, I was feeling a small bit distinctive. I wasn’t almost as comfy as I am now.
“I do not consider it is simply because of the offense, necessarily. I appreciate this offense that we’re in ideal now, but I just consider it is the comfort level with anything else. Offered that it is Year two, and realizing all the guys in the locker space. I consider these are the motives I really feel a lot more comfy going into this Week 1.”
An Week 1 head-to-head pairing against Allen only adds to the ongoing competitors amongst the two mates and budding divisional rivals.
“I consider it tends to make it enjoyable. It is enjoyable to type of joke about it in the offseason and now that it is right here, it is go time,” Darnold stated. “Obviously, I’m going to speak to him soon after the game and all that, but we’re each genuinely competitive.
“That very first game every person desires to get out there and play football. In particular with a new coaching employees, as players, we want to show what we’ve got. With new personnel, as effectively. We’re genuinely excited. … Football is back and we’re prepared to go.”