Sam Darnold has “a ton more confidence” in offense this year

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The Jets’ trade of safety Jamal Adams led to questions about whether they were punting on the 2020 season that General Manager Joe Douglas answered with an emphatic no earlier this week.

While teams rarely say that they are looking to future seasons over the present one, there’s at least one big reason to believe Douglas. Quarterback Sam Darnold is heading into his third season and the prospect of him developing into the top-flight quarterback the Jets hoped to get with the third pick of the 2018 draft is reason enough to approach this season with eyes on competing.

Darnold’s 2019 season was complicated by learning a new offensive system, a bout with mononucleosis and inconsistent offensive line play. The team hopes they addressed the line this offseason and Darnold said he’s feeling “a ton more confidence” when it comes to his knowledge of the offense.

“I’m very confident in that,” Darnold said, via the team’s website. “Spending so much time with Coach Gase, especially before last year, just trying to learn this offense as fast I could, it was definitely a process. I spent hours and hours trying to learn it every single day and I’m still doing that. I’m still learning the offense, but I’m definitely comfortable teaching some of the young guys and the guys who haven’t been in this system before. I’m just really excited to get that rolling.”

Even if the Jets didn’t have four first-round picks over the next two years, the pressure would be on Darnold to take a leap over his first two seasons. They do have those picks, though, and that will only increase chatter about possibly moving in another direction if Darnold’s confidence doesn’t translate to different results on the field.