A new coach, a marquee running back and a second-year quarterback brought renewed hope to the Jets this season. But one week in, that optimism has quickly diminished.
Sam Darnold has mononucleosis and will not play on Monday night against the Cleveland Browns (0-1), Coach Adam Gase announced Thursday. There is no timetable for his return.
Darnold had received a diagnosis of strep throat Tuesday night, but further tests revealed he had mono. Trevor Siemian, who signed a one-year deal with the Jets in March, will start in his place Monday night.
“Anytime you lose your quarterback, it’s a big deal,” said Dowell Loggains, the team’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. “It is a next man up mentality. Trevor has been here the whole off-season. We’re excited about him.”
Siemian, 27, has not played in an N.F.L. regular season game since Dec. 14, 2017. He is 13-11 with 30 touchdowns and 24 interceptions in his 24 career starts, all with the Denver Broncos.
“I’ve been there and done it a little bit,” Siemian said. “It’s been a while. So, like I said, I’m chomping at the bit to compete and get out there with the guys. I feel comfortable.”
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Monday’s matchup is the start of a tough stretch in the schedule for the Jets. After Cleveland, the Jets will travel to Foxborough, Mass., to face the Patriots in Week 3, followed by a bye week. They will then play at the Philadelphia Eagles before returning for home games against the Dallas Cowboys and Patriots.
An early rash of injuries has only made things more difficult. Le’Veon Bell, the star running back signed by the Jets this off-season, did not practice Thursday because of a sore shoulder, but he later announced by Twitter that a magnetic resonance imaging exam had shown that the shoulder was fine.
Demaryius Thomas, acquired on Monday in a trade with the Patriots, is dealing with a hamstring injury and will not practice until Saturday. Linebacker C.J. Mosley, the leader of the defense, left Sunday’s game with a groin injury, and the rookie defensive end Quinnen Williams, who was drafted third over all, left with an ankle injury. Neither player has practiced this week.