New York Jets Sam Darnold is the best quarterback in the AFC East

Sam Darnold, New York Jets. (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images)
Sam Darnold, New York Jets. (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images) /
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New York Jets
Sam Darnold, New York Jets. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images) /

Supporting cast

Darnold’s supporting cast since he came into the league has been atrocious. His offensive line was in the bottom four of the NFL, his rookie year of 2017. They finally bottomed out to last in 2019.

No quarterback had more touchdowns under pressure than Darnold’s 10. No quarterback had a higher completion percentage within 2.5 seconds of the snap than the 84.6 percent Darnold completed. That’s how bad his line was. All he needs from the New York Jets offensive line is 2.5 seconds, and he can’t even get that.

Not only has Allen played behind a good offensive line, but he’s also had better options to throw to. In his rookie year, the receivers Allen had were not impressive, but no worse than what Darnold had to work with on his own team. Buffalo G.M. Brandon Beane made it his mission to upgrade the Bills receiving corps before the 2019 season.

The most significant add was John “Smoky” Brown, who is an excellent receiver with multiple 1,000-yard campaigns to show for his career. Cole Beasley, a reliable and dependable number two receiver for quite some time, was signed away from Dallas as a free agent.

In contrast, Darnold had Robby Anderson, who is a decent receiver, but by no means a number one option on a good team. The talent level after Anderson fell off considerably. Jamison Crowder is a decent number three receiver as a slot option, but Darnold still has never had any sort of number one receiver, or any receiver as good as Smoke.

Receiver Quincy Enunwa, who was going to be a considerable part of the offense for the Jets in 2019, played in one game. The year prior, he played in just 11. Tight end Chris Herndon, who developed good chemistry with Darnold in 2018, also missed all but one game last year, as well.

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Most teams will use the run game to open up passing opportunities. Such as Buffalo utilizing the duo of Devin Singletary and Frank Gore. Darnold had no such luck there either, despite the New York Jets signing two-time All-Pro Le’Veon Bell. Gang Green couldn’t open up holes for him to run through, and the Jets head coach didn’t use Bell in the passing game as he should have.

Gase is notorious for not using his running backs in the passing game and was arguably even worse in those regards this year. Gase taking a running back like Bell and turning in the second-worst rushing attack in the league by DVOA was painful to watch.

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Darnold went 7-6 last year (7-5 without mono) with a supporting cast that looked like a clown show on turf. He’s done much more with so much less than Josh Allen has. Right now the New York Jets quarterback is the clear-cut Beast of the East.