5 burning questions the Carolina Panthers offense must answer in 2021

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Sam Darnold
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Sam Darnold /
5 of 5
Carolina Panthers
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /

Just how good is Sam Darnold?

This is the question that will define the 2021 season.

Just how good is quarterback Sam Darnold?

The Carolina Panthers have bet big on the signal-caller after deciding to bring him on board via trade from the New York Jets. Darnold’s time in the league hasn’t gone according to plan so far, but the former USC standout will have no more excuses with the talent around him on offense.

If the protection holds out, then literally everything is in position for Darnold to succeed.

Whether he can or not is another matter entirely.

It’s hard to look at Darnold three years under center at MetLife Stadium with any great confidence. His decision-making was poor even from a clean pocket and unless his confidence comes back to an acceptable level quickly, further complications will follow.

That being said, Carolina sees something in Darnold, who has a rocket for an arm and a strong ability to take command in the huddle.

He is also getting the benefit of the doubt after working with a head coach Adam Gase who either didn’t believe in Darnold or didn’t have the tools to bring his game along.

Again, that will not be the case in Carolina.

If Darnold makes a real go of things, then the sky is the limit for this team. Failure would leave them back to square one in their search for a long-term solution at the most important position on the field.

Must Read. 5 Carolina Panthers players fighting for bumper new deals in 2021. light

High stakes for all involved. But the Panthers have a lot riding on Darnold’s potential to finally become the player everyone expected coming out of college.