Jets' QB Sam Darnold Quotes 8.12.20
COURTESY OF NEW YORK JETS MEDIA RELATIONS DEPARTMENT
Opening Statement… I thought today was really good, a good practice. The last couple of weeks we’ve been working really hard with strength and conditioning, got to get on the field and throw some routes and walk though some plays. It was a good day.
Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post: What have you seen last year versus the little bit this year in Le’Veon (Bell)? We, from afar, have seen some Instagram stuff, he looks like he’s in crazy good shape. I’m just kind of curious what are you seeing in him in the brief time that you guys have been back together, and what your elevated expectations are this year for what you guys can do with him? He’s been great. He’s in really good shape, running around, he’s fast. He looks really good, so we’re just looking to use him in a lot of ways, and we’re just looking to have a good year with him and continue to build off the end of the year that we had last year.
Brian Costello, New York Post: It wasn’t too long ago that you were a rookie in training camp. These guys this year have an additional challenge with no preseason games and limited camp practices. How can you help those guys along on offense, Mekhi (Becton), Denzel (Mims) and the other guys out there that are rookies? For them it’s about taking advantage of every rep that they get, because like you said, right now, this offseason especially no OTA’s, the reps have been limited on the field. So, it’s just about taking advantage of every single one and making sure too that they’ve got questions for the coaches, making sure that they’re watching the tape of the walkthroughs when we are running plays and making sure that they have questions for them so that they’re clear on everything. We’re just going to talk through ball as much as we can when we’re not out there, and like I said, just take advantage of every single rep they get.
Charles McDonald, New York Daily News: How can Le’Veon Bell help you guys this year in ways maybe he didn’t last year or didn’t have the opportunity to help last year? I think Le’Veon can help in so many ways, and we’ve seen it in the past, right? He’s so good out of the backfield catching the ball, he can line up as a receiver, run so many different routes and catch the football, but let’s not forget what he does best is run the football. So there is so many ways that he can help us win, and it’ll be fun to just kind of game plan things for him that we feel like we’ll be able to take advantage of because he’s got such a wide skill set of things that he can do.
Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post: Jumping off Brian just asked you about the rookies, how much does that expand your role – even though you embrace that anyway – you being in the second year, how much does that expand your role kind of as a mini coach on the field to try to help these guys a little bit? It’s great, yeah, it challenges me every single day. If they’ve got questions, I’ve got to make sure I’m on it. So, it’s really good for me to just continue to study the offense and make sure – because if I tell them something, I’m not going to be wrong, and if they ask me something super detailed and I’m like, ‘Hey you know what, I’m not exactly sure, we should probably go in there after practice and figure it out,’ or right there we’ll ask Coach Gase or something. It’s just good for me, because I feel like sometimes the teacher definitely learns the most and I’m just right now trying to teach those guys as much as I can.
J.P. Pelzman, Forbes: What kind of challenge is it for you personally – I know it can kind of be a pain – but to not have the preseason game work against another opponent? To get that work against a team where you don’t know what their schemes are like. How do you compensate for that in the practices against your own team? How can you make up for not having that game action? It’s just like what I said about the rookies, I’ve got to take advantage of every single rep because in the preseason you’re going to get certain looks like you talked about and you’re going to get certain reps that are going to better prepare you for the season, and then you can talk about it in the film room after the game without it having a huge implication on the playoffs or the division. So, without having those preseason games it’s just making sure that we take full advantage of the reps that we’ve got.
Rich Cimini, ESPN: In the NFL sometimes when a team finished the season the way you guys did last year, winning six out of eight, they become the quote-unquote trendy pick for the following year, and yet there hasn’t been that buzz surrounding the Jets. If you read the predictions, you guys are closer to the bottom of the league. The Bills, even the Dolphins are generating a lot of buzz with all their new players. Do you think maybe people are sleeping on the Jets and you guys are better than being advertised? We’re not really worried about that. If people want to sleep on us, they can sleep on us, we’re fine. We’re worried about what we’ve got to do here, and for us it’s making sure that we’re locked in every single practice and during meetings and we just go from there.
Kim Jones, NFL Network: Understanding that every rookie has a lot of work to do, but when you just watch Denzel (Mims) and work with Denzel, are there things that come naturally to him – maybe in part because of his stature – that are going to play very well at the NFL level? For sure. He’s a very big dude, big receiver, very fast as well and explosive. He can get in and out of cuts. So whenever you have a big dude who can get in and out of cuts and he’s fast like that, it’s rare. And for him, he’s just got to make sure he’s taking it one day at a time, because I’m sure he’s thinking about and visualizing going out there on Sundays and making huge plays for us which is great. But at the same time you’ve got to make sure that every now and then you get him to focus on each day at a time and make sure that each route is crisp and he’s running every single route and focusing every single day to the best of his ability.
Al Iannazzone, Newsday: How beneficial do you think that quarterback thing you did down in Florida was this year, especially with everything that has gone on and you haven’t been able to be together that much? It was great. It was good just to see the guys, just to spend time with each other and hang out. I think that was the biggest part. And then without OTA’s, running routes and getting the timing down, that was huge. Then being able to come here, I feel like we didn’t really miss a beat. We just kind of picked up right where we left off. So, the time that we spent in Florida was definitely beneficial.
Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post: Given the challenges of the COVID thing and with so many things being halted, do you have a feel for maybe you guys being able to take advantage of the fact that you’ve got some continuity in place – same coaching staff, same quarterback, same systems – where there’s a lot of other teams that will have the challenges of having a new coaching staff, new quarterback, etc.? Do you have a feel for that at all that maybe you can seize upon that? I think anytime you’re in the same system, for me I already know the system and I’m just trying to build off that. This whole offseason was just me building on what I already knew, which was nice, but we’re not thinking that we’re ahead of anyone. We’re working just as hard, if not harder than anyone, and we’re making sure that we go out there every single day and focus on what we need to do that day. We’re not looking any further than that.
Charles McDonald, New York Daily News: On a different note, what was your reaction when the Pac 12 decided to postpone their season, and how feasible do you think that spring football is for college football? It’s going to be interesting. Personally, and I think all of us can say this, we miss football and we want to see football back. Especially for me playing at SC and playing in the Pac 12, I wanted to see it, but they had to make decisions that they had to make and that’s above my head. But like everyone here, we want to see football, so I don’t know how feasible it is in the spring, but I think whatever decisions they do make, they’re going to have thought about it. Again, it is interesting to talk about, but for me right now I’m not too worried about it, but that is a great question.
Brian Costello, New York Post: This offseason did you focus on gaining weight, losing weight or anything like that in terms of your workouts? I was just making sure that – and I think this is kind of every offseason for me – it’s making sure that I’m doing everything I can to make sure my lower body is as strong as possible and making sure that my upper body stays loose, I guess, for lack of a better term. I’m making sure that I’m till staying strong, but I want to make sure my arm is ready to go, keep my arm in shape and keep my core right, and that’s really it for me in the offseason. I’m making sure that I’m not eating whatever I want to eat, I’m not having In-N-Out every single day. I’m making sure that I’m eating good food and putting the right things in my body. That’s a huge part of it because I’m working out four or five days a week, so I don’t have to worry about how much work I put it, it’s about what I’m putting in my body.
Jennifer Williams, Fox: Sam you mentioned every rep counting. How did it feel when you got out there, did you feel like you guys picked up where you left off or how steep was that learning curve and the second part, you mentioned just being available for guys to answer questions. What other things are you doing to kind of help get everyone get up to speed as quickly as possible with the limited time and just step us as a leader so a bit of two-parter there? I think the first part, just kind of making sure that really, that routes that we ran were great in Florida. I think coming here and making sure that we had the details, that everyone was on the details, that was the biggest part, was getting splits right, making sure that we were on the details. Again, just reiterating to the guys how important it is to ask questions and spend time besides just me, but the coaches as well. Make sure that if you have anything on your mind or you are not sure about something in the offense, to ask a question. No question right now is a dumb question and for me I have to be ready to answer all of them and if I’m not sure I have to be honest with the guys and talk to Coach Gase or one of the coaches.
Jennifer Williams, Fox: What is your go-to In-N-Out order? Number one, grilled onions, Neapolitan shake. Easy.
Rich Cimini, ESPN: What is Joe Flacco like? Joe is awesome. Joe is great, you guys know, he has a ton of experience, so I am asking him questions and we are just getting to know each other so, he’s a really, really good dude. He fits in great with the room.
Dennis Waszak Jr, Associated Press: Sam how important is during this time for you, like we’ve talked a lot about the skill guys, the receivers, the running backs, but what about the offensive line, you getting a feel for those guys, them getting a feel for you and your cadence and that kind of thing. Is that kind of the stuff that you guys are really in a high gear at this point? For sure. As many reps as we can, I mean I’ve been saying it this whole interview but we just have to take advantage of the reps that we get because we don’t have as many as we would have in a regular offseason. Every single rep I get with them I make sure that I’m clear on what the cadence is, if we are using a double cadence, if we are using a quick cadence, just I have to be clear on everything that we are doing and I feel like thus far I have been and the guys have been really good and those guys are asking a ton of good questions and it’s just been really good so far.
J.P. Pelzman, Forbes: Sam, I apologize for taking you back to a bad time but I am just curious, obviously you bounced back very well physically last year, did it take any time emotionally to get over the mono thing? Emotionally ,did it impact you for a longer time than physically, how did that work for you? I think for me, I’ve always been good about understanding I just have to control what I can and when I got sick, I knew that was something I couldn’t control. I was in control on how I bounced back and again what I was putting in my body and how I was taking care of myself at that point and so just for me it was just making sure I was doing all the right things. Mentally it was just talking to my parents, my friends, to my teammates, my coaches, trying to be involved as much as possible. But for me I just realized how important this game is to me. I said it to you guys at the time but when you are out you realize how much football actually means to you and even with OTAs being cancelled, you realize how much you miss being in the huddle and running a play and executing that play, it’s the best feeling in the world. And so, when you are out, you understand, and for me I am never going to take it for granted ever again and that was I think the biggest learning experience I could take out of that.