5 big plans most likely to go wrong for the Panthers in 2021

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

Sam Darnold is the answer at QB

Whether they were right to do so or not is a moot point at this juncture. The Carolina Panthers need to make sure they put new quarterback Sam Darnold in the best possible position to thrive following his trade from the New York Jets.

In truth, the Panthers are betting on the potential of Darnold more than anything else. At 24-years-old, the former No. 3 overall selection in 2018 could have his best football ahead of him and he’s not exactly set the bar very high after a dismal three years at MetLife Stadium.

Poor coaching and a lack of talent around Darnold ensure he gets the benefit of the doubt, at least for now. The Jets can say all the nice things they want to about the signal-caller, but those in power deserve the majority of the blame for never truly believing in his capabilities.

That will not be the case this time around.

Darnold has a wealth of weapons in the passing game to call upon. Far more than he’s ever had at the next level so far.

However, if things go south for Darnold in a different environment or his protection doesn’t hold out, it’s going to be a real problem.

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Darnold has to take advantage of this big opportunity. Any further regression in his play would almost certainly come with another quarterback search in 2022 by the Panthers and the player’s hopes of ever starting again dented significantly.