5 bold predictions for the Carolina Panthers’ 2021 season

Nick Halden
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Sam Darnold
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Sam Darnold /
3 of 5
Carolina Panthers
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold and Matt Rhule /

Sam Darnold takes a step forward by becoming a game manager

To take the next step forward in his career this season, Sam Darnold is going to have to stop trying so hard.

This is not the New York Jets.

The Carolina Panthers are a team is full of playmakers and talent. All Darnold needs to do is sit back, distribute, and take care of the football.

For whatever reason, the moniker of a “game manager” is often interpreted as a slight.

This couldn’t be further from the truth.

A good game manager is more than capable of winning or competing for a Super Bowl. Alex Smith is a recent example who always elevated his team by trusting his guys and making the right plays at the right time.

Darnold will be at his best this season if he sits back and trusts the offensive playcalling and allows players around him to do what they do best.

This team has three skill players who can run a slant and turn it into an 80-yard house call. Darnold will need to calm his erratic play and become a level player who steadies what will be a young contending team this season.

A team who not only will make the playoff but will have found their quarterback of the future in Darnold if he makes the most of this big opportunity.