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Tony Romo: Jets' Sam Darnold has 'Peyton Manning-like traits' that could be helped by Adam Gase

USA TODAY SPORTS logo USA TODAY SPORTS 1/10/2019 Lorenzo Reyes

a football player throwing a ball: New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) carries the ball on a 14-yard run in the fourth quarter against the Houston Texans at MetLife Stadium. © Provided by USA Today Sports Media Group LLC New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) carries the ball on a 14-yard run in the fourth quarter against the Houston Texans at MetLife Stadium. NEW YORK – Five of the six head coaches who’ve been hired in the NFL have a background rooted in offense.

But there’s one pairing of new coach and quarterback that former signal-caller and current CBS analyst Tony Romo thinks could be particularly set up for success: the New York Jets' Adam Gase and Sam Darnold.

“I think putting him together with Sam Darnold is going to be a very good combination,” Romo said Thursday inside the CBS Broadcast Center as part of the network’s Super Bowl LIII media day. “I think Darnold has some Peyton Manning-like traits, and Adam did a great job, obviously, with Peyton in that situation.”

Though Darnold’s overall numbers in 2018 were average – he completed 57.7 % of his passes for 2,865 yards with 17 touchdowns and 15 interceptions – he showed steady improvement as the year wore on. Over his final four games, he completed 64 percent of his throws for 931 yards and a 6:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio.

When asked to elaborate on those Manning-like tendencies, Romo said he was already impressed by Darnold’s grasp of the mental part of playing quarterback.

“Just spatial awareness, ability to get through reads quickly,” Romo said. “I think he’s going to be a fantastic player. I think he’s going to make a huge leap next year. Some players have the ability – I call it spatial awareness, the instinctual ability to see leverage and get off a receiver when they’re going through a progression far faster than other people – that’s probably the most underrated trait that people can’t analyze. They see running. They see movement. Or they see the big play. What they don’t see is you got to the fourth receiver in 1.2 seconds, not 2.4. That’s really the secret to the best players at that position, and I think Sam has some of those qualities.”

The Jets fired former coach Todd Bowles this season after four years in which he never made the playoffs and posted a 24-40 record.

After interviewing several candidates, the Jets settled on Gase, who had just been fired from the AFC East-rival Miami Dolphins after posting a 23-25 mark in three seasons. Because of Gase’s background as an offensive-minded coach (having served as Manning's quarterbacks coach and then offensive coordinator from 2012-14) and his experience in Miami, Romo thinks the Jets could be headed to a more prolific run after an eight-season drought from the playoffs – a stretch in which New York shared or held last place in the division in four years.

“I think he’s a fantastic coach,” Romo said. “I think he has a great mind for offensive football. I also think sometimes it’s a good thing when you really have to reflect on when you let as a coach or a player. I think you have to look at yourself and I think that will be a good thing because he’ll analyze what he thought he could do better and what he did well.”

Follow Lorenzo Reyes on Twitter @LorenzoGReyes.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Tony Romo: Jets' Sam Darnold has 'Peyton Manning-like traits' that could be helped by Adam Gase

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