Tony Romo says Jets QB Sam Darnold has ‘Peyton Manning-like qualities’
Former NFL quarterback had some high praise for New York Jets rookie signal-caller Sam Darnold on Thursday, likening him to all-time great Peyton Manning when talking about Darnold’s fit with new head coach Adam Gase.
“I think putting him (Gase) together with Sam Darnold is going to be a very good combination,” Romo said Thursday, according to Lorenzo Reyes of USA Today Sports. “I think Darnold has some Peyton Manning-like traits, and Adam did a great job, obviously, with Peyton in that situation.”
Romo is referring to Gase’s two-year stint as Denver Broncos offensive coordinator in 2013 and 2014, when he coached Manning and helped lead the Broncos to a Super Bowl in the former season.
Romo was asked to extrapolate on his Manning comparison for Darnold, and he said he was impressed with Darnold’s smarts:
“Just spatial awareness, ability to get through reads quickly,” Romo said. “I think he’s going to be a fantastic player. I think he’s going to make a huge leap next year. Some players have the ability – I call it spatial awareness, the instinctual ability to see leverage and get off a receiver when they’re going through a progression far faster than other people – that’s probably the most underrated trait that people can’t analyze. They see running. They see movement. Or they see the big play. What they don’t see is you got to the fourth receiver in 1.2 seconds, not 2.4. That’s really the secret to the best players at that position, and I think Sam has some of those qualities.”
Darnold threw for 2,865 yards, 17 touchdowns, and 15 interceptions while completing 57.7 percent of his passes and registering a passer rating of 77.6 this past season.
The Jets selected Darnold with the third overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft.