Former Jets quarterback Chad Pennington had a solid career with the team, throwing for 13,783 yards and 82 touchdowns in 61 starts for the Jets over eight seasons (2000-2007).
He took the Jets to playoffs three times, something fans expect current starting quarterback Sam Darnold to do as well. Darnold has continued to improve since the Jets drafted him with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, and Pennington clearly sees those improvements happening this season.
"Although we would say that it has been up and down, I do believe there has been considerable improvement," Pennington said. "Where earlier in the year, you probably would see four to five decisions that you would question. Now you're only seeing only one to two decisions that we're questioning.
"Remember, he's 22 years old. This is his second year being an NFL quarterback. I think as fans, we should be happy with his progress and we hope to see that progress continue in Buffalo."
Darnold and the Jets have won five out of their last seven games, and hope to end the season on a high note on Sunday when the team travels to play the Buffalo Bills.
"I think what we're seeing is the maturation of a young quarterback," Pennington said. "Fortunately for us as fans, we're able to see that right in front of our eyes. When I was playing, you didn't see these things happen because most of the time quarterbacks were kept on the shelf for a couple years... I think we should be excited where he is, his projection moving forward, and his progress that he's made this year."
In 12 games this season, Darnold has thrown for 2,825 yards and 18 touchdowns with a 61.7 completion percentage. He's also cut back on turnovers -- throwing just 12 picks this season compared to 15 interceptions in 13 games last season.
"I'm seeing him being more decisive with his decision-making," Pennington said. "I'm seeing the ball coming out of his hand with less hesitancy, more confidence. I think we're seeing the accuracy with these intermediate throws, especially these deep crosses that he's had a lot of success with. I've also seen him develop relationships with Robby Anderson and Jamison Crowder."
Anderson has 49 receptions for 761 yards and five touchdowns this season, including back-to-back 100-yard receiving games in Weeks 13 and 14, while Crowder has a career-best 70 receptions for 767 yards and five touchdowns in his first season with the Jets.
Pennington hopes that Darnold and the Jets can get an impressive win against the playoff-bound Bills.
"I'd love to see him finish the season off against the Bills with just a solid winning performance, where they can bring the victory back home from Orchard Park," Pennington said.