Sam Darnold in the lion's den

Sam Darnold in the lion's den

The one who was to be one of the jewels of the 2018 draft in the draft, Sam Darnold, is turning into disaster. However, it is questionable whether he is the architect of his own misfortunes or if the Jets have rather failed in their task to maximize his development.

Tonight, the third-year quarterback will be in action against the Broncos in a duel that leaves completely cold. After all, the Jets are playing miserably right now and the Broncos are decimated by injuries. No less than five starters and 11 players in total are on the Denver injured list. But getting back to Darnold, it's frankly worrying. In his career, he has only claimed 39 touchdown passes in 29 games, with 32 interceptions and five fumbles.

The first instinct is to see the failure to date, but we must also seriously question how the Jets have surrounded him.


Since his debut, Darnold hasn't inherited a truly strong receiver to help him out of trouble. It would be an absolute necessity, considering that the offensive line that is supposed to protect him instead gives him nightmares.

When you have to settle for throwing at Braxton Berrios, Josh Malone and Chris Hogan, it is difficult to produce up to expectations. Certainly in recent times Jamison Crowder and Breshad Berriman have been injured. Rookie receiver Denzel Mims, on whom the team was hoping, is also on the sidelines. But even with all of these healthy beautiful people, this isn't an intimidating arsenal.


Darnold is certainly not free from all blame. If he found himself in other skies, there is no guarantee that his performance would be more flourishing. Except that at the very least, the Jets should have provided him with all the assets to succeed.

One of those assets had to be head coach Adam Gase, but his work with the Jets doesn't convince anyone.

It should come as no surprise that a loss to the Broncos becomes the final highlight for Gase. With 10 days until their next game, the Jets could see it as an opportunity to pull the trigger.

Regardless, it might be too late to revive Project Darnold. The young quarterback will need to bounce back in a spectacular fashion so that the Jets don't get their eye on Trevor Lawrence or another top prospect in the next draft. Note that it isn't much rosier in Denver, where Brett Rypien will be the Broncos' ninth different quarterback tonight since 2017. The team is also in its fifth offensive coordinator in five years. Stability, when you hold us …

Thursday Duel

The forces involved


  • Brett Rypien: Quarterback, 0 T, 1 INT, 53 yards
  • Melvin Gordon III: Running back, 1 T, 174 yards
  • Noah Fant: Tight end, 2 T, 184 yards


  • Sam Darnold: Quarterback , 3T, 4 INT, 562 yards
  • Frank Gore: Running back, 0 T, 144 yards
  • Braxton Berrios: Wide winger, 2 T, 123 yards

Player to watch


  • Receiver, Broncos

The Broncos' first-round pick in the last draft doesn't have an ideal NFL opening. Not because he's not producing, but because Drew Lock's injury prevents the receiver and his quarterback from developing chemistry. In the context, Jeudy is doing quite well. He claims 173 yards on 13 catches and has been targeted 24 times which is a team high.


  • BRONCOS: 16
  • JETS: 13

State of the Forces in the NFL

1. Kansas City Chiefs (3-0)

  • Last week: 1 (=)

Patrick Mahomes seems in a league of its own at the moment. The only way to (almost) keep him in check is to disturb him by applying pressure to four players, without blitzing. And again, his receivers are so explosive and the patterns so well deployed!

2. Seattle Seahawks (3-0)

  • Last week 3 (+1)

Each week, Russell Wilson bewitches his rivals with increasingly impossible tricks. The Seahawks are sailing on its successes, but how long can the model hold up? Sooner rather than later, the defense will have to show signs of life. It would be amazing if marauder Jamal Adams performed on Sunday.

3. Baltimore Ravens (2-1)

  • Last week: 2 (-1)

Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson spoke of the Chiefs saying they were their “kryptonite.” After all, he's 0-3 this season against the Chiefs, but 21-1 against the rest of the NFL. That said, the Ravens are going to bounce back and this setback doesn't make them a bad team.

4. Green Bay Packers (3-0)

  • Last week: 4 (=)

Even without his ace receiver Davante Adams, Aaron Rodgers had another great game. This time it was Allen Lazard who stood out. The veteran quarterback looks totally comfortable in Matt LaFleur's offensive design. Still think Jordan Love is going to play?

5. Buffalo Bills (3-0)

  • Last week: 7 (+1)

Including his rushing touchdown, Josh Allen has been responsible for 11 Bills touchdowns this season. This is the highest total in the team's history after three games. Already well-off in receivers, Allen can also count on the emergence of rookie Gabriel Davis.

6. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-0)

  • Last week: 8 (+1)

What difference can a top quarterback make for a wide receiver? Last year, with Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges throwing ducks at him, JuJu Smith-Schuster scored three touchdowns. In three games with Ben Roethlisberger this season, he has the same number.

7. Tennessee Titans (3-0)

  • Last week: 6 (-1)

It will be necessary to see if the COVID which is invited to the Titans will decrease them in their match against the Steelers, postponed from Sunday to Monday or Tuesday. How prepared will they be considering everyone had to stay home this week? Not a convenient situation …

8. New England Patriots (2-1)

  • Last week: 12 (+1)

Each week, it's not clear what type of offense the Patriots will present, and that's their strength. By week 1 it was Cam Newton on the ground. By week 2 it was air deployment. In Week 3, the rushing game gained 250 yards, only 27 of which was by Newton. Unpredictable, these Pats!

9. Los Angeles Rams (2-1)

  • Last week: 9 (=)

Losing to the Bills isn't easy to swallow, but the Rams showed their bases look strong with another strong performance from the offensive line and running play (167 yards). Darrell Henderson seems to finally settle down after an uneventful rookie season.

10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1)

  • Last week: 13 (+1)

Tom Brady's performance is peeled, but it's the Bucs' defense that should spark interest. With six quarterback sacks, two interceptions and a safety touchdown against the Broncos, this unit dominated. Rookie marauder Antoine Winfield Jr. will be a special player.

11. Arizona Cardinals (2-1)

  • Last week: 10 (-1)

An extremely rare phenomenon occurred in the defeat of the Cardinals. For the first time since 2004, wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald was held in check, with no reception. The attack as a whole struggled, especially because of the three interceptions of Kyler Murray.

12. San Francisco 49ers (2-1)

  • Last week: 14 (+1)

Deprived of their first two cornerbacks, the 49ers lost their third along the way, not to mention countless other injuries. Still, they only gave the Giants 231 yards and zero touchdowns. The attack, just as crippled, kept the ball for nearly 40 minutes.

13. Indianapolis Colts (2-1)

  • Last week: 16 (+1)

The Colts' defense is probably the biggest surprise no one is talking about across the league at the start of the season. The Colts are conceding just 225.3 yards and just 15 points per game. The unit is second in the NFL with six induced turnovers.

14. Chicago Bears (3-0)

  • Last week: 17 (+1)

The Bears accomplished something unique by becoming the first team in history to win two games in the same season in which they trailed by at least 16 points in the fourth quarter. Unsurprisingly, Nick Foles was named starting quarterback for Sunday.

15. Las Vegas Raiders (2-1)

  • Last week: 11 (-1)

The Raiders struggled well against the Patriots, but mistakes caught up with them. Derek Carr committed two of his three fumbles. In the first quarter, the Raiders dominated 103-38 in yards gained, but only 3-0 in scores. Against the Patriots, it does not forgive.

16. Saints of New Orleans (1-2)

  • Last week: 5 (-1)

Everyone flocked to Drew Brees to explain the Saints' disappointing start to the season. What if we had to look at 25 penalties for 366 yards this season instead? And why ignore Taysom Hill's breakaway, which broke the offensive pace against the Packers?

17. Dallas Cowboys (1-2)

  • Last week: 15 (-1)

The Cowboys have conceded at least 38 points in two straight games for the first time since 1988. It's rather disturbing. On the other hand, the offense continues to produce even though a player is pretty much out of his natural position on the offensive line due to injuries.

18. Cleveland Browns (2-1)

  • Last week: 21 (+1)

Are the Browns finally playing up to expectations? Difficult to say … After victories against Cincinnati and Washington, it would be frowned upon to get carried away. There is, however, far too much offensive talent in this team for it not to rise.

19. Carolina Panthers (1-2)

  • Last week: 28 (+1)

By working hard as they have been doing since the start of the season, it was obvious the Panthers were going to quickly cause a surprise. They did it against the Chargers. On defense, linebacker Shaq Thompson plays some excellent football in a rebuilt unit.

20. Los Angeles Chargers (1-2)

  • Last week: 19 (-1)

Despite the loss, rookie quarterback Justin Herbert became only the third to pass for over 300 yards on each of his first two starts. The Chargers have gone for 52 passing games against 20 runs, putting the youngster under great pressure.

21. Houston Texans (0-3)

  • Last week: 18 (-1)

No less than six of the Texans' 10 offensive thrusts against the Steelers were aborted after just three games. Deshaun Watson was the victim of five sacks, one

habit. The Texans must turn things around against the Vikings and Jaguars in the next two weeks.

22. Miami Dolphins (1-2)

  • Last week: 26 (+1)

Another sign that Ryan Fitzpatrick had 116 lives in the NFL: at the helm of the Dolphins, he beat the Jaguars last Thursday. He also beat them with the Bengals (2008), Bills (2012), Titans (2013), Texans (2014) and Jets (2015). Next stop on his big tour?

23. Detroit Lions (1-2)

  • Last week: 30 (+1)

When the Lions' defense was among the laughing stock of the NFL, it responded by putting the brakes on one of the circuit's most dangerous attacks. Rookie cornerback Jeff Okudah had his first interception and the Lions had three turnovers.

24. Philadelphia Eagles (0-2-1)

  • Last week: 20 (-1)

The bad news is that the Eagles are incredibly sad with their poor 0-2-1 record. The good news is that they play in the Eastern Division of the National Conference, the worst in a long time. In fact, they're only half a game away from the lead …

25. Cincinnati Bengals (0-2-1)

  • Last week: 29 (+1)

It was heartbreaking to see young Joe Burrow getting slammed game after game by the Eagles defense. Out of 52 passing games, he found himself under pressure 21 times, according to NextGen Stats. He was the victim of eight sacks. At this rate, this gap will sabotage its development.

26. Denver Broncos (0-3)

  • Last week: 22 (-1)

Whether it's Drew Lock, Jeff Driskel or even Brett Rypien, who will be the starter tonight, the Broncos' three-quarterbacks have one thing in common this season. They are terribly poorly protected. They have been hit 29 times and have suffered 13 sacks already.

27. Atlanta Falcons (0-3)

  • Last week: 23 (-1)

When you think that everything has been said about the Falcons' catastrophic start to the season, there is something else to illustrate their gloom. Note that Sunday marked their fifth loss since 2016 when they held a lead of at least 16 points.

28. Minnesota Vikings (0-3)

  • Last week: 24 (-1)

For the first time since Mike Zimmer became their head coach in 2014, the Vikings are 0-3. The only bright spot is the explosion of rookie catcher Justin Jefferson, but it's rare for a catcher to save the crew in the event of a shipwreck.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-2)

  • Last week: 27 (-1)

As praise rained down on him, including in these pages, Gardner Minshew looked like anything but a long-term fix for the Jaguars at quarterback against the Dolphins. But let us still give the chance to the mustache, who remains an inexperienced player. A little indulgence!

30. Washington team (1-2)

  • Last week: 25 (-1)

Dwayne Haskins, in his second year, doesn't look like a rookie right now. He looks more like a bad recruit. The young quarterback added three interceptions to his record in addition to a fumble. Tackle Matt Ionnidis is out for the season and Chase Young is also injured.

31. New York Giants (0-3)

  • Last week: 31 (=)

Since their last playoff appearance in January 2017, the Giants have been 12-40. This team is the worst in the league for three years. Lucky for them, the other New York team is doing even worse this season. That's saying something.

32. New York Jets (0-3)

  • Last week: 32 (=)

So far this season, the Jets have lost by 10 points in Week 1, 18 points in Week 2 and 27 points in Week 3. They have registered four touchdowns in three games. What immeasurable happiness to see them at work this Thursday evening! For everyone's respect, it should be banned.

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