His first play on Monday night in Detroit wasn't exactly taking a chance.
No one in the National Football League is really sure what a Patricia-led team will look like because what he showed in the preseason is not expected to be anything like what he'll do in Week 1 against the Jets.
Darnold earned the starting job after the Jets drafted him third overall in this year's draft. It'll mark the regular season debut of highly touted rookie quarterback Sam Darnold, who'll start under-center for NY. Crowell's 62-yard burst into the end zone capped off the Jets' third-quarter explosion.
The Lions are coming off of a dismal showing in the preseason.
Darnold, who amassed too many turnovers while doing most everything else well while at USC, was quickly being lumped with fellow former Trojan Mark Sanchez and other reminders of the Jets' long-faiing past of highly drafted, highly disappointing QBs not named Joe Namath. Darnold converted a third down with his legs to take the Jets into field goal range.
I somewhat disagree with this when talking about New York's skill positions.
Almost everything went right for the Jets.
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At 21 years, 97 days, Darnold becomes the youngest opening day starting QB in the NFL's Super Bowl era and the youngest starting QB for any game in franchise history. He brought the Jets into Lions territory in the first quarter to set up a touchdown drive that would tie the game.
The Lions were unimpressive in the preseason, but it's always tough to tell how much that really matters. And yet there is something positive to take away from Detroit's woeful stretch: They enter with largely the same core of playmakers - a group that should give the Jets trouble. "When you can do that, you can be a pretty good team".
Then you've got the new pieces. He came over after serving as the defensive coordinator for the New England Patriots.
An anemic first quarter of offense set the tone. Couple that with Patricia's plans on "D", and Detroit should have all the ingredients to outdo Darnold in front of its home crowd.
The play call for Darnold's first National Football League snap was pretty odd. He didn't wilt. He barely seemed to notice, in fact.
Everything else points in favor of Detroit, though.
One uniform wrinkle to report: The Jets will add one more white accessory to their white jerseys and white trousers - white facemasks, which they've only worn twice in the previous two seasons, on Thursday night at Buffalo in '16 and against Jacksonville at home a year ago. But Stafford is the proven man here, and with a revamped supporting cast in the backfield, he should be able to capitalize on a takeaway or two to help the Lions start with a "W".