Barring any sort of event that would turn back the clock on his recovery, Sam Darnold will reportedly start Sunday for the New York Jets.
New York Jets fans, your starting quarterback has returned.
According to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, Sam Darnold is set to start in Gang Green’s matchup with the division-rival Buffalo Bills on Sunday. Unless, of course, any setback in his recovery occurs.
Darnold missed the last two games after suffering a shoulder injury in the midst of the team’s Week 4 loss to Denver.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) October 23, 2020
Darnold began practicing again this week but was limited. He returned to the game field after suffering the injury against the Broncos and finished out the matchup but wasn’t deemed healthy enough to take part in the Week 5 and 6 meetings with Arizona and Miami, respectively. Veteran backup Joe Flacco has started and played in the absence of the third-year quarterback.
This wasn’t Darnold’s first run-in with missed time. The 2018 No. 3 overall pick missed three games his rookie season with a foot sprain and was additionally sidelined for a trio of matchups last year after a mononucleosis diagnosis.
The Jets are surely glad he’s back in the lineup, but will it make much of a difference in regard to their scoring woes? New York is averaging 12.5 points per game overall, and with Darnold in the starting lineup, the team has averaged just 16.3. Sure, the offense is slightly better when he starts, but the unit is still nowhere near productive enough to even compete with other teams.
Darnold was struggling prior to the injury, completing just 59.4% of his throws with three touchdowns, four picks, and a 5.7 yards-per-attempt rate.