The new coach said Monday in his introductory press conference that the young quarterback was one of the main attractions for jumping right back into a job after getting fired by the Miami Dolphins. Gase noted that preparing to face Darnold twice in 2018 gave him an idea of the skills the first-round quarterback possesses.
"The majority of the things I've already looked at have been his pro tape," Gase said. "Obviously, I was preparing for him for two games was kind of really a jumpstart for me. He was one of the guys that we actually thought was gonna be gone before way before we even picked. We focused on a couple of other guys that we thought could possibly fall to us at 11.
"I've been able to, especially in the last few days really hammer out as much tape as I could on him and start looking at the things that I've seen him do really well, some of the things we could possibly work on. And really it's gonna start with him. That's an obvious statement. I'm excited because this is the first time I've been able to get with a guy this young, this early in his career. We're going into Year 2 and he's hungry for knowledge. He wants to be coached, which, when you have that type of player that does have the physical traits, this is an exciting thing for me to go through."
Gase spent his three years in Miami coaching around sporadic play at the quarterback position and an array of injuries to Ryan Tannehill. After working with the likes of Peyton Manning, Jay Cutler, Tannehill and other more experienced quarterbacks in his coaching career, Gase now gets a fairly blank slate in Darnold to nurture.
Darnold went through early rookie struggles but surged toward the end of the season after missing three games due to a foot injury. He finished his rookie campaign completing 57.7 percent of his passes for 2,865 yards, 17 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.
Darnold's play down the stretch -- just one INT in his last four games -- offered a glimpse of the type of signal-caller he can become in the right system. The Jets hope Gase is the man to take the quarterback to the next level.