Sam Darnold could bypass crucial step before Jets return


It’s still too early to tell when Sam Darnold will be ready to take his next snap.

Still considering his quarterback week-to-week with the shoulder injury that sidelined Darnold for Sunday’s 30-10 loss to the Cardinals, Jets coach Adam Gase said Monday he isn’t sure when the 23-year-old will return to practice, leaving his status for Sunday’s game in Miami in doubt.

However, Gase said Darnold wouldn’t necessarily have to participate in a full practice to be ready to return for game action.

“It’s really just the healing process he’s going through right now and how he would feel going out to practice and throwing and how far he can throw and how that would look,” Gase said Monday. “They’re trying to determine where he’s at with all that. The next two days will be critical for that.

“Whenever we’re given the green light for that, I’d love for him to be able to practice before we get into a game. The way a lot of the teams we play, we’re seeing pressure and we’re seeing different looks and I’d love for him to get reps, but we’ll see. … If he gets to a point where he feels good and he feels good enough and he [does] walk-throughs, I’m not ruling anything out right now.”

Darnold, who has now missed games due to injury/illness in each of his three seasons, said he did some throwing Monday and has felt noticeable improvement.

“There’s pain every now and then, but I’m feeling a lot better,” Darnold said on ESPN Radio. “The encouraging thing is it’s getting better every day. … Hopefully, I can practice this week and play on Sunday.”

The Jets (0-5) are 0-7 when Darnold hasn’t played in the past three seasons. Former Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco, 35, filled in against Arizona, completing 18 of 33 passes for 195 yards and a touchdown.

Gase also did not have an update regarding starting left tackle Mekhi Becton, who also missed Sunday’s game with a shoulder injury.

Wide receiver Chris Hogan suffered a high ankle sprain in Sunday’s loss. Gase said the team was awaiting the results of additional tests and didn’t yet know how long the veteran might be out. Through five games, Hogan is second on the team in targets (26) and receptions (14), while ranking third in receiving yards (118).

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