No, you aren’t supposed to draw any conclusions from three weeks of football. And, yes, it is probably a little bit cruel to be writing rude headlines about a former Jets coach who currently does not have a gig in the NFL. But may I suggest to you: This is funny.
I am of course talking about the fact that Sam Darnold—who was picked third overall by the New York Jets in the 2018 draft, flamed out in spectacular fashion over the course of three terrible seasons under the tutelage of head coach Adam Gase, and was then traded to the Carolina Panthers last spring—now appears to be sort of good at football. Darnold led the Panthers to a 24-9 victory over the Houston Texans last night, and in the process threw for 304 yards and rushed for two touchdowns. Darnold looked good last week, too, throwing for 305 yards and two touchdowns in a victory over the Saints, and the week before that he beat the Jets while throwing for 279 yards and one touchdown.
Nobody will mistake Darnold’s stats for numbers belonging to Patrick Mahomes or Tom Brady, but it is nevertheless startling to see his name next to box scores that exude competence. Don’t allow yourself to forget just how bad Darnold looked during his years with the Jets, where he completed fewer than 60 percent of his passes and was intercepted 39 times in 38 games. Darnold threw for more than 300 yards just four times as a Jet, and he’s already done it twice in three games as a Panther. It’s not like the Panthers are a model organization known for pumping out stud quarterbacks, so what’s going on here?
I’ll tell you what’s going on: Sam Darnold is currently living the sweet life of success that comes to all people who have escaped the orbit of Adam Gase, the supposed “quarterback whisperer” who now wears that moniker only as an ironic insult. But what if all this time we have just been wrong about the exact mechanics of Gase’s whispering? What if Gase puts all sorts of valuable and arcane quarterbacking knowledge into his players’ heads, but does so in such a way that it can only be accessed, Manchurian Candidate–style, once they are free of Gase? We’ve already seen Ryan Tannehill turn into a borderline star after getting away from Gase, and now Darnold appears to be on the path to prosperity. The more places you look for support of this theory, the more the evidence mounts:
And so I am proud to announce that I have recently hired Adam Gase to be my financial adviser. I expect to find myself jobless and under crushing debt within a year, at which point I will simply fire Gase and prepare to enjoy my new life as a millionaire.