Sam Darnold focusing on Jets matchup, not Trevor Lawrence noise

Sam Darnold has an Instagram account, and it’s not like he lives in a cave without WiFi access.

Of course he’s heard the speculation about the winless Jets possibly being headed for the No. 1-overall pick in the 2021 draft, with a chance to nab projected generational quarterback Trevor Lawrence out of Clemson.

Darnold practiced on a limited basis for the second straight day Thursday with the hope of returning Sunday against Buffalo after missing two games with a shoulder injury. The third-year QB insists the only future he presently is concerned about within the organization is his immediate one.

“We have to worry about this week and Buffalo and getting a win. … That’s all we’re worried about right now,” Darnold said after practice in Florham Park. “I have social media, I’ve seen some of the things, but we’ve got a game to win this week.

“For me [the Lawrence speculation] is out of my control. I’m here to do my best and help this team win games. That’s all I can do, and with that is preparing every single day as hard as I can and going out to practice and trying to have the best practice I can. That’s all I can do.”

sam darnold worried about week 8 not trevor lawrence
Sam DarnoldRobert Sabo

The 23-year-old Darnold stressed he’s felt fine in practice this week after missing the past two losses against Arizona and Miami with a sprained AC joint in his throwing shoulder suffered Oct. 1 against Denver. He admitted he’s still dealing with “a little bit of pain, but nothing crazy,” adding he believes he’s capable of “dealing with it” if head coach Adam Gase decides to start him Sunday.

“I’ve felt good. The last two days have gone really well throwing the ball,” Darnold said. “I’ve recovered pretty quick. Obviously, it’s still to be determined what’s happening Sunday, who’s starting, but I’ve felt really good the last couple of days.

“I think it’s me recovering, recovering fast and making sure that nothing is tight and nothing is super-sore. I think that is really the only hurdle that I have to go through.”

Darnold, the No. 3-overall pick in the 2018 draft, has completed just 59.4 percent of his passes with a 70.7 passer rating this season, with three touchdowns and four interceptions.

Not that the Jets have played particularly well with Darnold at quarterback during his first three seasons, going 11-19 in games he’s started, but they are winless in all eight games he hasn’t played.

“I don’t think I’ve played well enough to win. That’s just shooting straight,” Darnold said of his 0-4 record this season. “We haven’t won any games yet, so obviously I haven’t played well enough.”

Still, neither Darnold nor veteran backup Joe Flacco has had the projected full complement of offensive weapons this season due to various injuries both at wide receiver and along the offensive line.

“I don’t think it’s fair to evaluate him at this point but we know the nature of the beast and he understands the nature of the beast,” offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains said. “In this business you’re judged off production and winning as a quarterback, that’s the bottom line and he understands that. We need to start coaching better, we need to start playing better around him, and Sam is the least of our worries around here.”

Loggains added Darnold has been “fighting through a lot of stuff, but he’s doing everything he can to be out there, and for us, he’s looked good enough to see how it goes [Friday].”