5 big riddles Matt Rhule must solve at Panthers 2021 training camp

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Christian McCaffrey
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Christian McCaffrey /
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(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Sam Darnold /

How can the Carolina Panthers build Sam Darnold’s confidence?

Acquiring Sam Darnold via trade from the New York Jets was a bold move by the Carolina Panthers. The quarterback has not exactly proven his worth as an NFL-caliber starter over the last three years, so the organization is hoping the mitigating circumstances surrounding his failure were the primary cause behind the player’s eventual demise at MetLife Stadium.

There are obviously going to be some confidence issues where Darnold is concerned, at least initially. He wouldn’t be human if there wasn’t.

How the Panthers build this back up will ultimately determine their fortunes in 2021. It’s just that simple.

This might be a gradual process. Getting Darnold involved heavily over the first two preseason games and putting him in a good position to hit his targets should serve the player well.

And who knows? Maybe everything will click into place right away.

It was a massive gamble to move away from Teddy Bridgewater and settle for Darnold. They picked up his fifth-year option after avoiding the temptation to draft a quarterback, but the front office has been ruthless at the position if things aren’t going according to plan.

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One thing is for sure, Darnold does not want the jitters in Week 1, where he just so happens to be taking on the team that cast him aside in favor of Zach Wilson.