It’s been a rocky career for Sam Darnold, to say the least. After struggling with the New York Jets, the young quarterback was given new life after being traded to the Carolina Panthers. He didn’t live up to expectations, making his future with the franchise rather murky. Even so, the coaching staff reveals their stance on Darnold heading into the 2022 NFL season.
According to The Athletic, although the Panthers have been noticeably searching for a new quarterback, the coaching staff still believes in Sam Darnold playing the starting role. Well, for now at least. Head coach Matt Rhule seems pleased with what he’s seeing from Darnold throughout this offseason. He states, “What Sam’s been through this offseason’s hard. Your back’s against the wall. Everyone’s questioning, ‘hey, can you do this or not?’ And I think Sam has to have confidence in himself — his ability to work through and grind and develop — and at the same time identify the things he has to improve upon.”
Rather than getting caught up with the outside noise, the Panthers quarterback has focused his attention on learning Ben McAdoo’s system, per The Athletic. “Darnold has spent OTAs diving into McAdoo’s system and trying to improve his footwork in the pocket after admittedly seeing it become ‘very loose and chaotic’ during a 2021 season in which he threw 13 interceptions (against only nine touchdowns) and was sacked 35 times behind an offensive line that was patched together with scrap metal and duct tape.”
Sam Darnold is in the final year of his contract and is being paid over $18 million. We’ll see if he can finally put all of the pieces together and become a franchise quarterback for the Panthers. We’ll see how it plays out, but based on his past performances, Carolina is likely to continue searching for a new quarterback after the 2022 NFL season.