Jets QB Sam Darnold and coach Todd Bowles react to his first preseason game with the Jets on Friday, August 10, 2018, at the MetLife Stadium.
Andy Vasquez, staff writer, @andy_vasquez

RICHMOND, Virginia – Jets rookie quarterback Sam Darnold impressed in his preseason debut Friday night.

And it looks like he could show even more of what he can do in preseason game # 2. Jet's coach Todd Bowles was generally cryptic about his quarterback plans for the game on Thursday against the Redskins. But it looks like Darnold will get his first preseason start at FedEx Field. It would be the last step in Darnold's progress and a real chance for Darnold to gain a lead in the three-way competition between him, Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater.

Bowles has done his best not to disclose his quarterback plan until his players run out onto the field. But what happened in practice on Sunday made it look like Darnold was the starter for the next preseason match.

The Numbers

Sunday practice was shortened by rain, with fewer 11-to-11 team exercises than normal. But Darnold has the vast majority of reps in practice, and most of those reruns were with the first team.

Darnold took 18 snapshots, 12 of them with the offensive line of the first team, completing 6 of 9 passes. His last four snapshots came in the torrential downpour that eventually brought the exercise to a premature end.

McCown took only seven snapshots, all with the offensive start line. He completed 2 of 4 passes and threw his first interception training camp, run by Washington CB D.J. Curse.

Bridgewater was also limited, taking only eight snapshots and completing 2 of 3 passes.

Why the First Team Representatives Are Important

Both Bridgewater and McCown were working on the first team's offensive on Friday night's first preparatory start. And if Darnold has a legitimate chance of winning this job, the Jets will have to see what Darnold can do with the best offensive players in the best team.

Sunday was a step in the right direction.

"It just makes me more fun with these guys," Darnold said about the first team representatives. "And I think that they feel better with me and how I like to play."

Will Darnold start on Thursday?

We do not know exactly. Bowles is not easy to read. But he should start.

When playing with the best players, Darnold has the best chance of success and helps the jet trainers to see exactly what they can do. In the first two weeks of the camp and in the preseason opener, Darnold showed more than enough potential to get a chance in the first pre-season game.


RB Isaiah Crowell suffered a concussion on Friday night and did not travel to Richmond with the JEts. OT Kelvin Beachum (foot), DT Steve McLendon (leg) also stayed behind. … TE Chris Herndon, who missed the game on Friday for "bruising", was in the field in pads and a helmet, but did not train. … OLB Lorenzo Mauldin (leg) did not practice and did not seem to be in practice.