Every week, we up our prep on the Patriots’ next opponent with our “5 questions…” feature where we check in with a writer who covers New England’s next opponent. For this week’s game against the J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets!, we talk with old buddy, part-time NFL writer and part-time Patriots agitator Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. Check him out on Twitter here. Thanks to Manish for his time.
1. What are your thoughts on Sam Darnold as a legit franchise QB?
Well, we’re only 15 games into Darnold’s career, so it’s unfair to anoint him anything more than “promising player” status. That being said, I saw star quality in him at USC long before the Jets drafted him. His ability to extend plays, make quick decisions and accurate throws from weird angles is impressive. He has an innate feel for sensing and escaping pressure when the pocket collapses.
In those moments, he’s not necessarily looking to take off and run like JoshAllen or LamarJackson, for example. Darnold’s eyes are always looking downfield. He’s got a terrific ability to slide to his left or right to avoid a rusher and make a pinpoint pass in tight coverage even when his feet aren’t set. That can’t be taught. That’s a gift.