5 major observations from Panthers QB Sam Darnold’s 2021 offseason

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

A gradual adjustment for Sam Darnold

It proved to be a gradual transition to a new environment for Sam Darnold. The quarterback had all eyes on him throughout the preparation period for obvious reasons, but the Carolina Panthers can be pleased with the way he’s conducted himself in unfamiliar surroundings.

Anyone expecting Darnold to provide the energy and charisma of Cam Newton was kidding themselves. That’s simply not the way Carolina’s new man under center goes about his business.

What Darnold has done is command the respect of his teammates in a more cerebral way. This was done primarily by taking charge in the huddle and leading from the front after some additional coercion from head coach Matt Rhule at training camp.

Getting the fans onside happens on the field with solid production and wins. For the players, it happens much sooner than that and Darnold only got one chance to make a good first impression.

Mission accomplished.

Something the jury was out on in no uncertain terms.

This was all anybody could ask from Darnold during the offseason. What comes next is obviously more important, but there is far more optimism surrounding his prospects with just a few days to go until Week 1 than when the trade was announced.