4 major factors that could hamper Sam Darnold’s production in 2021

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

Sam Darnold gets no help from TEs

Every quarterback needs a security blanket across the middle these days. The tight end position has become increasingly important in any passing attack and the Carolina Panthers need more from their newly acquired options than they got in 2020.

Nobody will benefit more from this than Sam Darnold. A trusted tight end can make a substantial difference – especially when a quarterback is under pressure – so there are big-time expectations on the shoulders of Dan Arnold and Tommy Tremble next season.

Arnold is expected to be the go-to guy after joining in free agency from the Arizona Cardinals. He is a tight end with wide receiver ball skills and athleticism that makes him a dangerous weapon over intermediate routes and in the red zone.

There is also a lot to like about the skill set Tremble brings to the table. The Notre Dame product should develop as a pass-catcher over time, but his assistance blocking from the H-back role is something else that should be of significant use to Darnold.

Ian Thomas is also still around, but he can’t really expect to see many targets after failing to emerge as Greg Olsen’s long-term successor in 2020.

Darnold won’t really care who steps up, just as long as somebody does from the tight end spot.

If they don’t, it’s going to be a real problem.