FLORHAM PARK, New Jersey – The New York Jets suffered another blow to their quarterback, announcing on Tuesday that Trevor Simian would be lost by the end of the season due to significant ligament damage to his left ankle.
Third string Luke Falk will make his first career start Sunday against the New England Patriots, as the Jets (0-2) will become only the sixth Super Bowl team (except for the 1987 batting season) to start three different defensive attacks in his first three games.
But not everything was bad. Starter Sam Darnold, who was diagnosed with mononucleosis last Wednesday, returned to Jets Hall Tuesday and is "feeling better," said coach Adam Gus. "The doctors will let us know when to continue with him."
The best-case scenario is Darnold returns in Week 5 against the Philadelphia Eagles after their week has come.
In the meantime, they plan to sign a quarterback who will serve as Folk's backup against the Patriots (2-0), who are installed as a 22.5-point favorite. Gus will probably look to sign someone familiar with his system, so Brock Osweiler and David Thales are options.
The Jets were hoping to rally around Simian until Darnold returned, but he lasted less than two-fourths on Monday night's 23-3 loss to the Cleveland Browns. His left ankle bent awkwardly at the impact outside the pocket of Miles Garrett, who was punished for roughly passing the passer.
MRI revealed ligament damage but no fractures, Gus said.
"I think we are all surprised because when you watched it, it was not a break, as probably what many of us have seen," Gass said. "Really, it's an ugly looking game. I think there's a lot of damage where surgery will be needed and it will be time to recover."
Folk, who was signed by the practice squad a few hours before the match, did a decent job in the circumstances. He completed 20 of 25 passes for 198 yards and made no turnovers in his NFL debut. He was selected to the sixth round of the 2018 Titans in Tennessee and spent time with Gus last season at the Miami Dolphins.
"Luke will be the starter until Sam returns," said Gus, who will start his seventh since then 2016 – tied with Hugh Jackson for the most in the league during this period.
Offensively, the Jets went wrong under Gus, who was hired because of his offensive insight. In two games, the unit only generated 11 points for the Buffalo Bills and Browns . Unlike last week, when he blamed the players, Gus showed some accountability.
"It starts with me making sure I put our people in better positions," he said. "There are many plays in which, when I look back, I feel that I have not done a good enough job of putting them in the right places."
Gus said he was not considering any changes to the composition, although he noted that the Ryan Kalil Center, which came out of retirement on August 1, is still not meeting its expectations. He was replaced by Jonathan Harrison in the fourth quarter, but that seems to be based on the result of the bad.
In other injury news, the Jets are likely to be without wide receiver Demari Thomas (knee / knee) and linker Jordan Jenkins (calf), who are listed week in and week out. Lynchback J. J. Mosley (groin) and rookie quarterback Quinn Williams (ankle), neither of whom play on Monday night, are everyday.