5 big observations from practice Day 10 at Panthers training camp

(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Paddy Fisher and Jermaine Carter
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Paddy Fisher and Jermaine Carter /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /

Sam Darnold clinical in red-zone situations

There was plenty of focus on short-yardage situations and red-zone plays during Sunday’s practice. An area of the field where the Carolina Panthers struggled in 2020 and came in for criticism from quarterback Teddy Bridgewater soon after he was traded to the Denver Broncos for a sixth-round pick.

Bridgewater needed to take the majority of the blame for the team’s failings. From what we’ve seen from Sam Darnold during the opening two weeks at training camp, things should be much improved next time around.

The last few days have been really encouraging from Darnold’s perspective. His production has noticeably improved since the pads came on and he’s displaying a decision-making process that is fast and decisive for good measure.

This is something that didn’t come across consistently during his time with the New York Jets. Darnold is aiming to make a far better go of things in stable surroundings on the Panthers and there is an increased sense of optimism with every passing practice.

The next week will be equally as important for Darnold. He is set to take the field for the first time at the Indianapolis Colts, which comes after two days of scrimmages against the AFC South organization.

Their defense is a top unit and led by All-Pro Darius Leonard, who recently signed a megabucks deal that makes him the league’s highest-paid player at the position.