4 things Panthers fans can look forward to during the 2021 offseason

Dean Jones
(Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports) Brian Burns
(Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports) Brian Burns /
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Carolina Panthers
(Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /

The evolution of Sam Darnold

The Teddy Bridgewater ended after just one season and the Carolina Panthers have a new man under center that can hopefully lead them to the promised land.

Sam Darnold was acquired via trade from the New York Jets, which represents a significant gamble from Carolina’s perspective after failed bids to land Matthew Stafford and Deshaun Watson during the offseason.

The former USC star might have all the intangibles needed to make more of an impression than Bridgewater ever could, but putting it together proved a task too far for Darnold with almost no quality options in the passing game and a head coach in Adam Gase who was facing an uphill battle from his first bizarre press conference at MetLife Stadium.

Watching Darnold’s progress during the preparation period is something that should excite the Panthers.

For the first time in the player’s career, he now has a supporting cast that can make things happen at the drop of a hat, although much will depend on how the offensive line holds up.

There are no more excuses for Darnold, who needs to improve his decision-making from a clean pocket and become a little more aware of just where pressure is coming from on any given down.

Carolina’s fanbase is approaching Darnold with confidence and trepidation in equal measure. If it all works out, then it’s going to be a fun campaign for the Panthers and their fanbase in 2021.

However, should Darnold fail to meet his targets, it’s probably going to come with the franchise looking for their third starting signal-caller in as many seasons following their decision to release Cam Newton.