Darnold reportedly impressing Jets, could start at QB

Rookie Sam Darnold was late to training camp but still "has a very fair shot" of opening the regular season as the New York Jets' starting quarterback, according to a report by ESPN.

Darnold is further along in his readiness than the Jets anticipated and although he still has work to do, he reportedly has impressed coaches so far.

After a three-day holdout over offset language, Darnold signed a four-year, $30.25 million contract and reported to camp on July 30.

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Darnold, 21, was the No. 3 overall selection in the 2018 NFL Draft out of Southern California. The Jets also have veteran quarterbacks Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater on the roster, and they've been trimming McCown's reps lately in order to give the two younger players more chances.

Entering camp, coach Todd Bowles said McCown was the starter but that preseason performances could change that. Asked Monday if Darnold could realistically win the starting job, Bowles again pointed to preseason action and suggested the competition will take time to sort out.

"You have to play the preseason games," Bowles said. "I'm not into hypotheticals and nothing that hasn't happened yet. We're going to let them play and, after the fourth preseason game, sometime that week I'll make my decision and we'll go from there."

Related: See Darnold while at USC: 

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Sam Darnold throughout his USC career
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Sam Darnold throughout his USC career
3 September 2016: USC Trojans quarterback Sam Darnold (#14) during the Advocare Classic college football game between the USC Trojans and Alabama Crimson Tide at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Alabama won the game 52-6. (Photo by Matthew Visinsky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
01 October 2016: Southern California quarterback Sam Darnold (14) directs the band after the Trojans 41-20 win in an NCAA football game between the Arizona State Sun Devils and the USC Trojans at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 08: Sam Darnold #14 and Adoree' Jackson #2 of the USC Trojans celebrate a 21-17 win over the Colorado Buffaloes at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on October 8, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 08: USC head coach Clay Helton hugs USC (14) Sam Darnold (QB) during an NCAA football game between the Colorado Buffaloes and the USC Trojans on October 08, 2016, at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, CA. USC defeated Colorado 21-17.(Photo by Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 27: USC (14) Sam Darnold (QB) makes a throw during the game against the California Golden Bears on October 27, 2016, at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Adam Davis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - NOVEMBER 12: Quarterback Sam Darnold #14 of the USC Trojans heads off the field after beating the Washington Huskies 24-13 on November 12, 2016 at Husky Stadium in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
PASADENA, CA - NOVEMBER 19: USC (14) Sam Darnold (QB) escapes the grasp of UCLA (98) Takkarist McKinley (DL) as he runs the ball for a gain during an NCAA football game between the USC Trojans and the UCLA Bruins on November 19, 2016, at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA. (Photo by Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
PASADENA, CA - NOVEMBER 19: USC (14) Sam Darnold (QB) embraces UCLA (12) Mike Fafaul (QB) after the game during an NCAA football game between the USC Trojans and the UCLA Bruins on November 19, 2016, at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA. USC defeated UCLA 36-14. (Photo by Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 02: Quarterback Sam Darnold #14 of the USC Trojans runs with the ball in the first half against the Penn State Nittany Lions during the 2017 Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual at the Rose Bowl on January 2, 2017 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 02: USC (14) Sam Darnold (QB) celebrates the victory after receiving the offensive player of the game award at the conclusion of the Rose Bowl Game between the USC Trojans and the Penn State Nittanny Lions on January 2, 2017, at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA. USC defeated Penn State 52-49. (Photo by Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 02: USC Trojans head coach Clay Helton (C) reacts with his son Turner (L) and quarterback Sam Darnold #14 (R) after defeating the Penn State Nittany Lions 52-49 to win the 2017 Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual at the Rose Bowl on January 2, 2017 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - JULY 27: Quarterback Sam Darnold of the USC Trojans speaks to the media during PAC12 Media Days on July 27, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 02: Sam Darnold #14 of the USC Trojans leaves the field after a 49-31 win over the Western Michigan Broncos at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on September 2, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
SOUTH BEND, IN - OCTOBER 21: USC Trojans quarterback Sam Darnold (14) rolls to the sidelines during the college football game between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and USC Trojans on October 21, 2017, at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, IN. (Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 18: Sam Darnold #14 of the USC Trojans jokes with Daniel Imatorbhebhe #88 of the USC Trojans before the game against the UCLA Bruins at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 18, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 04: USC (14) Sam Darnold (QB) gets sacked during a college football game between the Arizona Wildcats and the USC Trojans on November 4, 2017, at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 18: Josh Rosen #3 of the UCLA Bruins and Sam Darnold #14 of the USC Trojans meet on the field after a 28-23 Trojan win at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 18, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - DECEMBER 01: Sam Darnold (14) of the USC Trojans during the Pac-12 Championship game between the Stanford Cardinals and the USC Trojans on December 1, 2017 at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, CA. (Photo by Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - DECEMBER 1: K.J. Costello #3 of the Stanford Cardinal greets Sam Darnold #14 of the USC Trojans following the Pac-12 Championship game on December 1, 2017 at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by David Madison/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - DECEMBER 01: USC Trojans quarterback Sam Darnold (14) is all smiles after winning 31-28 after the Pac-12 Championship game between the Stanford Cardinal and the USC Trojans on December 1, 2017 at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, CA (Photo by Samuel Stringer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 29: Sam Darnold #14 of the USC Trojans looks for an open receiver against Nick Bosa #97 of the Ohio State Buckeyes during the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic at AT&T Stadium on December 29, 2017 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 29: Malik Harrison #39 of the Ohio State Buckeyes runs Sam Darnold #14 of the USC Trojans out of bounds in the second half of the 82nd Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic between USC and Ohio State at AT&T Stadium on December 29, 2017 in Arlington, Texas. Ohio State won 24-7. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
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Nearly two years since sustaining a gruesome left knee injury with the Minnesota Vikings, Bridgewater impressed during the offseason and appears healthy, wearing a small knee brace for support. He told reporters Monday that he doesn't expect any setbacks, despite some worries about him holding up to hits in games.

"I definitely feel like I'm good," Bridgewater said. "With the training staff here, we've been definitely hitting it hard."

With a chance at winning the starting job or being traded before the regular season, Bridgewater is not looking ahead, instead simply enjoying his time back on the field after a lengthy layoff.

"Right now, I'm doing everything I dreamed of doing -- and that's waking up and continuing to play football," he said. "It's a wonderful feeling. It gives me chills right now to think about it, knowing how the previous two years were."

--Field Level Media

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