Jets great Joe Namath saw the 2019 version of the team up close on Monday, watching practice and spending some time in the quarterbacks room with Sam Darnold.
Namath said his expectations for Darnold are high, but the quarterback can’t win by himself.
“Win a championship,” Namath said of those expectations. “Now expectations and hopes are two different things. I hope we can win a championship, but I don’t know that kind of talent is here right now. It remains to be seen.”
The Jets are not quite ready to contend for a title yet, but Namath believes in the second-year quarterback. Darnold is the latest quarterback to try to fill the Hall of Famer’s giant shoes.
“I like his demeanor,” Namath said. “We didn’t go out to dinner or anything, but the few times that I’ve been in his presence and talked with him he gives you a good vibe, a good feeling. He’s respectfully humble. Physically, he can play as well as anybody. He just needs to keep polishing himself and the team needs to polish up.”
Namath pointed to Archie Manning as an example of a great quarterback who did not win very much with the Saints because of the poor team that surrounded him.
“I know it’s a team game, and I’ve often said this: The best quarterback I’ve seen who would probably be the first Manning into the Hall of Fame was Archie, but he never had a team,” Namath said. “He was with the New Orleans Aints. It is a team game.
“Sam’s got to have the help on both sides of the ball. He can play.’’
Both Gase and general manager Joe Douglas spent time with Namath during practice.
“That was awesome,” Gase said. “I met him last year when I was at Miami and we were down there and played that game. I got to meet him there and just getting to be around him today and talking through what we were doing on the practice field. Him hearing how we’re calling in the plays, I don’t think he had that technology. But it was cool, like my kids getting to meet him. I don’t know how my 5-year-old even knows who he is but somehow he does. So that was cool today.”
The Jets signed Taylor Bertolet as their new kicker Sunday after the surprise retirement of Chandler Catanzaro. Could they add another kicker to compete with him?
“I think right now we’re going to stay with what we’re at right now and we’ll keep talking with Joe and his crew upstairs and just kind of see how it goes,” Gase said. “Just go through this game, see what happens, see how it goes. I like the way that we’re operating right now, we’ll see how it carries over to Thursday [against the Falcons].”
— Additional reporting by Mark Cannizzaro