4 early Sam Darnold observations from Panthers training camp

(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) Sam Darnold
(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) Sam Darnold /
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Sam Darnold
(Alex Hicks Jr./Spartanburg Herald-Journal via IMAGN Content Services) Sam Darnold /

Sam Darnold doesn’t need to be a vocal leader (yet)

Leading from the front is something that is normally associated with NFL quarterbacks. They are the focal point of any team and if those around Sam Darnold believe in his ability to get them to a winning record or better, they will run through a brick wall to achieve their collective goals.

Now, Darnold is never going to be the vibrant personality of Cam Newton, who brought fun and energy to Carolina Panthers training camp and the majority of his time on the field before being released last spring.

At least initially, Matt Rhule is looking for Darnold to get problem areas of his game up to speed and is leaving the leadership to more established individuals on the roster.

"“Sam just has to worry about playing quarterback right now. We’ve got great leaders. We’ve got Christian McCaffrey. We’ve got Matt Paradis. We’ve got D.J. Moore, Robby Anderson, Dan Arnold. We’ve got all these veteran guys that have played a lot.”"

Nobody knows more about what Darnold brings to the table than Robby Anderson. The pair worked together on the New York Jets – producing plenty of incredible moments along the way – and the wide receiver stated his belief that the USC product can lead both with communication and by his actions over time.

"“Sam’s going to lead with his actions. He’s going to lead with his voice, but he’s definitely going to lead with his actions and he’s going to work. He’s like a head-down, keep-grinding mentality.”"

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The keyword here is relaxation. Darnold needs to take everything in his stride throughout Panthers training camp, focus on what he can control, and hopefully, everything will then fall into place when it’s time to take the field in a competitive setting.