Sam Darnold shows flashes of promise as Jets start testing him

Jets rookie quarterback Sam Darnold showed some improvement in the second OTA practice of the spring that was open to the media after a tough day last week.

While the throws were mainly short, Darnold showed more poise than he did in the first practice witnessed by the media, and coach Todd Bowles said Darnold is improving.

“He’s been progressing,” Bowles said. “Obviously, installing the offense and putting everything in on defense, he’s seeing things for the first time on both sides of the ball. As the days go by, he’s getting more comfortable. He’s just got to keep working at it and getting better.”

The Jets did not make Darnold available to speak to the media after practice.

Darnold got 20 reps in the practice, six more than either Josh McCown or Teddy Bridgewater. He took eight reps with the first-team offense, something he did not do last week. Bowles said not to read into the first-team reps.

But it is a sign the Jets are going to test Darnold at times.

He completed 8-of-10 passing and threw no interceptions in team drills. He threw one pick in 7-on-7 drills on a deep, desperation heave that Terrence Brooks hauled in. His prettiest pass of the day was a sideline pass to Robby Anderson that he perfectly placed so only Anderson could grab it.

Bowles said this quarterback group has clicked better than previous quarterback groups he has had with the Jets.

“I think from a chemistry standpoint with the three around each other, it’s the most together — from an experience standpoint and a young talent standpoint — we’ve been in the room,” Bowles said. “We think we have three good quarterbacks that we can play with. We’ll see how much better they can get going forward.”

Bowles said second-year safety Marcus Maye won’t practice this spring, but should be ready for training camp. Maye had ankle surgery after last season.

WR Devin Smith is also sitting out the spring practices as he recovers from his second torn ACL, suffered last April. Smith, the team’s second-round pick in 2015, has played in only 14 games over three injury-riddled seasons. He may have a tough time making the team this season with a crowded wide-receivers room.

“There’s not much you can show when you’re injured. He’s had some serious injuries. It’s not his fault,” Bowles said. “Sometimes things like that happen. Until he gets out on the field, it’s going to be an unknown. First and foremost, he has to get healthy, and then we’ll judge him if he can get on the field.”

CB Trumaine Johnson was not at Tuesday’s OTA. Bowles said he was aware Johnson was going to miss the voluntary session.

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