5 major Sam Darnold observations from Week 3 of Panthers training camp

(Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) Sam Darnold
(Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) Sam Darnold /
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Sam Darnold
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY) Sam Darnold, Will Grier and P.J. Walker /

Running game help for Sam Darnold

It’s no coincidence that things took a leap forward for Sam Darnold on Day 2 of joint practices with the Indianapolis Colts when the running game came to the fore. This is going to be a big part of the Carolina Panthers’ game plan thanks to the return of Christian McCaffrey, with others also catching the eye of late to further enhance options at the position.

This not only helps Darnold. But the offensive line is far better at run blocking than they seem to be in passing situations.

McCaffrey remains the focal point for as long as he is healthy. The All-Pro looks back to his explosive best and if the former first-round pick stays fit for the entire 17-game campaign, it’s going to help Darnold and the Panthers considerably.

We are also starting to see glimpses of what Chuba Hubbard can do. The fourth-round selection was a standout performer on Friday and could elevate to the primary backup role with a strong preseason under his belt.

Teams will be stacking the box for McCaffrey. This should provide Darnold with plenty of opportunities to utilize play-action and get the football downfield for big gains.

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Darnold has plenty of pressure on his shoulders ahead of what appears to be his last chance to prove capable of being a productive starter. Judging by how the running backs are looking of late, things might be easier than most are projecting.