The Jets have consistently said they don't want to throw their No. 3 overall pick Sam Darnold into the fire this season. Former Giants QB Phil Simms doesn't understand why.
Simms looks at Darnold's situation as being the potential Jets savior at quarteback. In turn, he needs to get on his feet and hit the ground running.
"He'll fit in fine," Simms told NJ.com's Darryl Slater at BTIG Charity Day on Tuesday. "If I was the Jets, I would play him from Day 1. That's just me. Start him. Let's go. Got a long offseason, training camp, preseason games. They probably won't [start Darnold in Week 1].
"But listen, they put all their money in on Sam Darnold. And I don't want to hear, 'Oh, we don't want to hurt his confidence if he fails early.' Well, if he fails early, and it hurts his confidence and he can't overcome it, he wasn't the guy. I like the pick. I've heard good things about him in the little [rookie] minicamp he had this past week. So I think he'll do well."
Legendary Jets QB Joe Namath also weighed in Tuesday on whether Darnold should start.
Veteran Josh McCown currently has the starting job in the Jets' quarterbacks room, and head coach Todd Bowles is committed to starting him coming out of training camp at the moment. But Simms thinks getting Darnold as much time as possible in regular season games will ultimately speed up his development.
"Well, why not?" Simms said when asked why he'd start Darnold. "I mean, come on. We know he's the guy. And if the team is not ready for him, then that's one thing. But if he's ready, then you play him, because there's so much to learn by playing. And the team is not going to be judged [off] if they go to the playoffs. They're going to be judged on how the quarterback progresses.
"So give him every chance to progress. That would be my argument. He's got great feet for a big guy, throws well on the run. Throws the ball nicely. I'm going to say he's a great thrower. Not by NFL standards. But there's a lot there you can like, for sure."
Darnold did have some fumbling issues at his rookie minicamp, but other than those few miscues, he impressed his coaches and those watching. He still needs time to develop and learn the Jets' system.
However, if he does look to be the quarterback the Jets hioped he would in practice, Simms is all for throwing him in that fire and seeing if he doesn't burn.