4 ways Sam Darnold can prove his doubters wrong in 2021

(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /
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Sam Darnold
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /

Sam Darnold must improve Carolina’s red zone percentage.

The Carolina Panthers last season were frankly dismal when it came to red zone scoring percentage, ranking 28th out of the 32 teams converting just 50 percent of trips into touchdowns once they got inside the 20-yard line.

Much was made of Teddy Bridgewater’s failure to convert red zone opportunities into seven points. Something that played a significant part in the Panthers going in a different direction after just one season, shipping the quarterback to the Denver Broncos for a sixth-round pick and a whopping dead-cap figure of more than $17 million.

Sam Darnold will be aided by the return of 2019 All-Pro running back Christian McCaffery, who was injured for all but three of Carolina’s games last season, something that would have been a detriment to Bridgewater.

However, Darnold’s New York Jets ranked even worse, coming last in the league with just a 42.11 percent success rate in the red zone.

Darnold upping this percentage will go a long way to showing doubters he belongs in this league. Judging by what we’ve seen from the signal-caller during red-zone drills at training camp so far, there is plenty to like about his chances of progression with more weapons at the player’s disposal.