3 realistic targets for Carolina Panthers QB Sam Darnold in 2021

(Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold
(Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /
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Carolina Panthers
(Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /

Come through in the clutch

The primary reason why the Carolina Panthers were so intent on moving on from Teddy Bridgewater was the player’s inability to come through when it mattered most. His eventual 0-8 record on game-winning or tying drives in 2020 – games the team lost by one score – was an ongoing frustration and although it wasn’t all his fault, the former Louisville standout needs to shoulder the majority of the blame.

If Bridgewater had come through in even half of these games, it might have resulted in a surprise playoff appearance for the Panthers with a 9-7 record.

Instead, the signal-caller is heading out of the door after just one season.

Sam Darnold will be expected to be better with the game on the line. This is something he rarely experienced during his time with the Jets, who were heavily beaten more often than not under their former head coach Adam Gase that eventually led to his firing.

Carolina has enough talent on both sides of the ball to continue mixing it with contending teams, which they did really well under Matt Rhule in 2020 before faltering down the stretch. If they can do this once again and Darnold gets them through when it counts, then things are going to look far more promising from a record standpoint.

More. Carolina Panthers 7-round mock 2021 NFL Draft using best player available. light

The Panthers have placed a tremendous amount of faith in Darnold, who now has two progressive coaches in Matt Rhule and Joe Brady that can steer him in the right direction. What comes next is uncertain, but as far as situations go, the quarterback could be in a much worse predicament.