Sam Darnold studying Peyton Manning, Jay Cutler film


An NFL player studying other players isn't anything new in the NFL.

New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold is now one of many players in the league to take that approach as he prepares to enter his second season.

But what makes Darnold's strategy interesting surrounds his focus on the two quarterbacks that Jets head coach Adam Gase previously worked with as an offensive coordinator.

Gase told reporters that Darnold has studied tape of Peyton Manning's 2013-14 seasons with the Denver Broncos and Jay Cutler's 2015 season under Gase with the Chicago Bears.

"He can watch concepts," Gase said, via the Jets' official website. "I think he's just taking it in a little bit at a time and he's picking certain things to watch, whether it's a conceptual thing, protections, footwork or certain routes. We have it broken down so many ways. I just think he's trying to pick certain points that he wants to improve on."

Darnold selected good periods to gain an understanding of what Gase will expect of the signal-caller in his offensive scheme.

Manning, already an accomplished quarterback when Gase arrived in 2013, set NFL records with 55 touchdown passes and 5,477 passing yards in his first year in Gase's scheme.

Cutler also thrived as a passer in Gase's offense, posting a career-high 92.3 passer rating and completing a career-high 64.4 percent of passes.

Gase pointed out that Darnold, who posted a 57.7 completion percentage and a 77.6 passer rating in 2018, seeks to apply what he's watching to his game.

"I just think he's trying to pick certain points that he wants to improve on," Gase said. "Looking at what he did, I know he's watched some things with how Jay did some stuff too because of their ability to move a little bit different, those guys being able to get outside the pocket and stuff.

"At the same time, I don't think he's over-analyzing anything. I think he's trying to take some of those finer points of some of the things that Peyton did and implement those, but at the same time still being himself."

Darnold is certainly his own quarterback and his progression in 2018 is one of the primary reasons there is plenty of optimism for a turnaround in New York.

But if Darnold can effectively transition what he's picking up from watching Manning and Cutler to run Gase's offense with high confidence, the Jets will only get better.