Jets head coach Adam Gase cannot hide his excitement over his quarterback.
Following Saturday's training camp -- the first padded practice of the summer for the Jets -- Gase was beaming when asked about his excitement level for Sam Darnold.
"He's 22 years old and can throw the piss out of the ball," Gase said. "It's fun."
The 2019 season is going to be a crucial one for Darnold's development. The quarterback flashed potential at times last season, but also struggled with consistency. Now, Darnold is stepping into a new offense with a new head coach.
"I'm ready to roll," Darnold said on Saturday. "I'm excited. I think this team is poised to do great things this year. But it starts one week at a time, one day at a time and that's our mindset right now. For me, I have higher expectations than anyone for myself."
You think Adam Gase is excited to coach Sam Darnold?- SNY (@SNYtv) July 27, 2019
"He's 22 years old and can throw the piss out of the ball... it's fun to call plays" 🏈 pic.twitter.com/aY95CNjZYN
The outside expectations are pretty high, though. The Jets added more weapons to their offense, including running back Le'Veon Bell, and many believe they can compete for a playoff berth this season. Whether or not that will happen will mostly fall on the shoulders of Darnold.
Yet Gase has been impressed with Darnold's ability to apply things he has learned and after speaking with Josh McCown, who was at Saturday's practice, Gase discovered that Darnold has made significant progress with the little things.
"He does a great job of communicating back to me," Gase said. "If something is hazy, he'll tell me. I don't have to do guesswork. ... Josh and myself were talking about that. Last year, he wouldn't say, 'I wouldn't get that, I don't understand what you're saying.' He would just take it in and try to figure it out. I told Josh that he's gotten past that. If he doesn't understand something he'll tell me. That's experience, that's what one year does for you. One year in this league feels like 10."
Darnold also appears to be commanding the offense like a veteran -- another positive sign in his growth.
"I think confidence is a huge asset as a quarterback," Darnold said. "Knowing most of the guys and understanding their personalities. What clicks for most of them and how to talk to some guys and what helps. ... It's about knowing your teammates and how to talk to them."
It's those types of leadership qualities that Gase believes will pay off in the long run.
"Him being comfortable in those situations is going to be so valuable for as an organization," Gase said. "That's the stuff you have to take to become that leader you're looking for. He has natural leadership where he doesn't even try and guys respond to him."