5 key observations from Panthers first practice back in Charlotte

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Matt Rhule
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Matt Rhule /
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Sam Darnold
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /

Sam Darnold-Terrace Marshall Jr. connection grows

According to the media in attendance, the developing chemistry between quarterback Sam Darnold and rookie wide receiver Terrace Marshall Jr. is growing at an encouraging rate. The former LSU stud has been a smash hit throughout the preparation period, only adding to the embarrassment of riches at the Carolina Panthers’ disposal in 2021.

Darnold has also grown in stature with every passing week. His production made huge strides once the pads came on and there is a conviction to the player’s decisions that was seldom seen during his time with the New York Jets.

Not only will Marshall assist right from the outset. But his size, physicality, and ability to get open quickly make him a supreme red-zone threat that the entire league needs to take seriously.

Of course, much will depend on just how the protection in front of Darnold gets on. Some serious questions remain about the group outside of right tackle Taylor Moton, so we’ll get a far better look at them in the preseason finale on Friday night.

At the very least, it’ll be interesting to see how the Panthers deploy Marshall over the first few games.

Any hopes the team had of him being a surprise most teams don’t see coming evaporated last week at the Indianapolis Colts. But that doesn’t mean the rookie cannot add something a little bit different and ease Darnold’s transition in the process.