3 encouraging signs from Sam Darnold’s Week 1 performance

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /
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Sam Darnold
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /

Sam Darnold proved he can handle the big occasion

Going up against the New York Jets right out of the gate could have been a gift or a curse for Sam Darnold. This all depended on how the quarterback handled the spotlight in the face of a team that gave up on his earlier this offseason.

Couple this with so much uncertainty about whether Darnold has what it takes to be a productive NFL starter and it’s not hard to see why some were expecting the worst despite the huge upgrade in talent around him.

Darnold was treating this as just another game. Or at least that’s what he was telling everyone in the lead-up to Sunday’s contest.

It all came down to handling the occasion with the right mindset.

For the most part, Darnold accomplished this feat.

Of course, there are a couple of throws Darnold would like to have back. Especially when it came to execution in the red zone.

But overall, Darnold looked at ease and there was always the option of Christian McCaffrey to call upon out of the backfield during some unsure moments.

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You can take it with a grain of salt because it was only the Jets if you want to. But considering what was at stake for Darnold, his poise proved he can handle the big occasion in the right situation.