5 Panthers players who need to shine at Colts in preseason Week 1
Sam Darnold – Carolina Panthers QB
This is the moment everyone associated with the Carolina Panthers has been waiting for.
Sam Darnold is set to take the field for the first time following his trade from the New York Jets on Sunday. The quarterback has left an eye-catching impression since the pads went on at training camp, but this must now transition into solid production when it counts against a defense that has plenty going for it.
Darnold is hoping the protection in front of him is adequate enough for the player to thrive. The Indianapolis Colts will be fully aware of the complications suffered by the USC product in the face of constant pressure at MetLife Stadium, so they’ll be looking to make things extremely difficult right out of the gate.
Just how much time Darnold will see in the lineup is up for debate. Carolina only has three preseason games this year ahead of the new campaign, which might force them to keep their signal-caller in for at least a half during the first two contests.
Every throw Darnold makes will be scrutinized, for good or bad. This comes with the territory and especially since the Panthers decided to go with the former first-round pick instead of drafting Justin Fields at No. 8 overall.
Darnold has to make a good first impression. Anything else will just raise further complications both the player and the Panthers could do without.