Sam Darnold, 12.31
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Brian Costello, New York Post: Sam, what’s the approach here going into the final game of the season, what’s your feelings entering this last game?
Yeah, obviously, it’s always a challenge going against this defense and not only the talent, but the scheme as well. So, we’re preparing and continue to prepare, we have a really good plan right now. Again, just looking to finish strong here with another good practice and just going to continue to watch tape and prepare the way that we always do. Again, like I said, it’s going to be an awesome challenge and we’re all looking forward to the opportunity.
Al Iannazzone, Newsday: Sam, after everything you guys have gone through this year, if you were to end the season on a three-game winning streak what would that mean?
It’s always nice to win games, so it’d be great to be able to get this last win in Foxborough, it’d mean the world to me and all the guys in the locker room.
Rich Cimini, ESPN: The fact that you haven’t beaten the Patriots, would it make it a little extra special?
No, I mean, honestly for me like I’m preparing as I would every single week. Just trying to do everything that I can to put my best foot forward and just prepare and try to go out there and win a football game.
Connor Hughes, The Athletic: Sam, has this year been one of the more or the most challenging year of your career playing football, you can even go back to when you were back in college and in high school and things like that?
Yeah, I would say so, I had a couple of rough seasons I think in high school, but this has definitely been a tough season. I think everyone in the locker room can say that because you know we’re all not used to losing as much as we did, especially in consecutive fashion the way that we did at the beginning of the season. So, yeah, I mean it was tough on all of us, but again, like I continue to say, we’re just going to continue to learn from it. And going through that tough time that we did, it helped build our character, that’s for sure, and at the same time we learned a lot about ourselves as players as well.
Rich Cimini, ESPN: What did you learn about yourself?
Yeah, I think just being able to deal with this, just the resiliency of me and you know the guys in the locker room, we just continue to fight. Every week, really every day, we came in here and we continue to just work and put all the time in that we needed to go win a ballgame. It didn’t work out a ton in the beginning, but we just kept grinding, kept working, we got the last two and we’re looking to finish off strong.
Brian Costello, New York Post: Sam, a few weeks back I think we asked you about this at the time, Adam (Gase) said, kind of he felt like he let you down during his time here and we don’t know what Adam’s future is going to be after Sunday with this team, but is there any sense from you the other way, that you feel at all like you’ve let Adam down in these two years?
Yeah, I mean, I think there’s been stretches where I haven’t played nearly as well as I should have, and I’ll be the first one to admit it. So yeah, there’s definitely that part of it. So, yeah.
Zach Braziller, New York Post: Sam, do you wonder about your future with the Jets at all? Is that something you think about?
No, I’m just one day at a time, you know how it is, we are trying to get a win in Foxborough this weekend and I’ll worry about that after the season.
Rich Cimini, ESPN: Do you consider yourself; I mean you’re only 23, sometimes we tend to forget that, as a quarterback whose best days are ahead of him? Do you think you’ve even come close to what your ceiling is?
Yeah, I absolutely believe my best days are ahead and I’m just going to continue to work and like I said, put that work in to be able to get better and improve every single year.
Connor Hughes, The Athletic: Sam, I know you said, this might be looking a little too far forward for you, but a couple weeks ago you said you wanted to be a Jet for life, like that was your goal when you came here, that’s something that you’ve kind of always wanted to say and do. If something were to happen this offseason that changes that, would that be extremely disappointing for you? How quickly would you be able to move on from that and focus? I mean what would be your mindset in that situation?
I mean, I’m a Jet now. I know we all like to think of hypotheticals and what ifs, but I’m a Jet right now and I love being here, I love the guys in the locker room and I love going to work every single day here.
Brian Costello, New York Post: Sam, what did you hear from your teammates and coaches after running over the linebacker on Sunday?
It was a mix of emotions. I think some of the players were excited about it, I think most of the coaches were telling me to get down. I think for me personally, I learned from it, that’s definitely a play where I’d like to get down and slide but, I got the first down so I’m excited about that, but no it’s definitely something that I learned from and trying to avoid contact in the future as much as possible.
Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post: Sam, I mean obviously you’ve talked so much to us about consistency the last couple years and so much has been talked about the fact that you haven’t had receivers, the offensive line has been in flux, etc, the skill position players. How much do you attribute that inconsistency around you to kind of the results and how much on yourself for maybe not advancing further than you would like to?
Like I said, I think early in the year I was way too inconsistent. At the end of the day, we’re running the offense and the game plan that we have that week. For me as a quarterback, you can’t necessarily look at who’s out there, it’s just going through my progressions and finding the open guy. And that’s really what it comes down to, and for me, I’m just focused on doing that every single week. So, you know, I think for me at the beginning of the year I wasn’t like you said, I wasn’t playing nearly as consistent as I should of and I’m continuing to work on that.
Connor Hughes, The Athletic: Sam, I was wondering, by any chance over the last week or so, have you and Joe Douglas talked about your future? Like have you seen him or talked to him or anything like that?
No, we haven’t.
Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post: Sam, can I ask you about Jamison (Crowder) and what he’s meant to you? Obviously last week he kind of was a showcase of everything he can do, but just the plays he makes, your dependency on him and what not, what he’s meant to you since he’s been here?
He’s as a playmaker man, he’s a baller. He goes out there and makes plays and does what he has to, sometimes throwing touchdowns, he does what he has to, to help the team win. And it’s amazing to watch it every single week. All of our guys do that, but you know Jamison especially, he’s a great player to watch in practice and just the way he works off the field as well, so he deserves all the success and all the hype as well.
Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post: I’ve got a question also about Frank Gore, who obviously won’t play this week, but what does it meant to have him around you this year? What have you drawn from him and what have you seen fellow younger players draw from him?
I said it, I think, last week, but Frank’s been inspiration to all of us. I know for him, he’s not going to come in here hooting and hollering, saying, “You guys got to do this.” No matter what the circumstances were every single week, he came in here and worked. I mean, it was unbelievable to watch, and it made you realize what it takes to have a Hall of Fame career and what it takes to be that great of a football player. And he’s just a special player, a special human being and he was put on this earth to play football and it was just fun to watch him work every single day. There’s an award that we give out, Most Inspirational Player and like I said, Frank’s not going to say anything, he doesn’t want to say anything, he doesn’t want to speak in front of the team, but his actions are what led him to get that award this year. And so he’s been awesome, just for the entire team and his work ethic, like I said, like our circumstances this year weren’t great, losing as many games as we did and he just came in here every single day and went to work. It was unbelievable to watch and I’m proud to call him a teammate and a friend.
Brian Costello, New York Post: Sam, I know the win is the most important thing for you Sunday, but would it mean something for you to go out and just have a big game, a 300-yard passing game, three or four touchdowns, just something to end the season on a good note for you personally?
Yeah, I mean, a win would be the best, so that’s all I’m worried about, I’m worried about getting a win and helping this team get our third of the season.
Andy Vasquez, The Record: Sam, I’m just curious, when it’s been a while, you haven’t had one of those games like Brian (Costello) was talking about for a while, where you’ve thrown for more than 250, is pressing, does that become an issue? How do you keep from pressing it and is it frustrating to not have that kind of a breakout game?
No, I can’t press. I think whatever for me, it’s been working the last two games, just take whatever the defense gives me and whether that’s a shot, whether it’s an underneath throw, just taking what they give me and if it’s not there, throw it away or if I can run, find a running lane to do that and get a first down. So, like I said, I’m going to do everything that I can to help this team win and that’s really my only thing I’m focused on.
Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post: Sam, you came in at the same time as your friend Josh (Allen) in Buffalo and obviously completely different circumstances, but is it hard sometimes not to look across the way there and compare where you guys are at team wise, personally, etc, and the strides that he’s taken this year?
I mean what Josh has done up there has been amazing and obviously we play similar opponents, so I get to watch some of his tape. And how he’s grown as a player, it’s been awesome to watch. But for me, I’m mainly focused on what we’re doing here and how we have to go and win a ballgame on Sunday, that’s really all I’m worried about.