— Dennis Waszak Jr. (@DWAZ73) August 3, 2019
New York Jets center Ryan Kalil thinks that his experience will help quarterback Sam Darnold take the next step this season.
The New York Jets made their first big move of the Joe Douglas era on Thursday, signing center Ryan Kalil out of retirement to a one-year contract. Kalil, who retired at the end of last season, should replace Jonotthan Harrison as the starting center.
Kalil, who was an All-Pro three times (first-team twice, second-team once), has spent 12 years in the league, all with the Carolina Panthers. He’s played in a Super Bowl and feels that his experience will help Sam Darnold’s development.
Kalil spoke about his experience on Saturday in a video tweeted by the team.
“I think obviously given my experience, I’ve seen a lot of stuff,” Kalil proclaimed. (8:47).
— New York Jets (@nyjets) August 3, 2019
An experienced center is huge for a young quarterback, as he can help with diagnosing blitzes and make sure the offensive line is in sync. The center is sometimes considered the quarterback of the offensive line, and the best ones can read what a defense is showing and pick up on anything a quarterback misses.
Nick Mangold played that role for the Jets in 2009 and 2010, helping Rex Ryan lead the team to back-to-back AFC Championship Game appearances in Mark Sanchez’s rookie and sophomore season.
Kalil is a USC product, just like Darnold, giving them an instant bonding point. Kalil said he was a fan of Darnold’s going back to his days at USC, and mentioned that working with Darnold is exciting for him.
Darnold is not the first young highly drafted quarterback Kalil has snapped to, as he was firmly entrenched as the Panthers’ starting center when former first overall pick Cam Newton was drafted.
Kalil’s ability to direct the line and pick up blitzes allowed Newton to play freely when he entered the league, and Newton won offensive rookie of the year in 2011 as a result.
The Jets will no doubt be hoping that Kalil can have a similar effect on Darnold and allow him to lead them to meaningful November and December football, and possibly even a playoff appearance.