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 /

Sam Darnold finished preseason on a high

After what seemed like an age of waiting, Sam Darnold finally took the field for meaningful reps in the preseason finale against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The impression he left was notable and something he can definitely build on heading into the 2021 campaign.

The Carolina Panthers got Darnold into a nice rhythm against Pittsburgh’s second string. There were some protection concerns that need addressing before they take the field in Week 1, but outside of one or two poor throws, it was an encouraging performance overall from the player.

Darnold completed 16 of 25 pass attempts for 162 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions, and an impressive passer rating of 119.1. He was sacked once and there was another play close to a turnover that was eventually ruled incomplete.

As for Darnold, he was pleased. But highlighted he still has some work to do in pursuit of finally living up to his high ceiling.

"“For me, it’s really just learning from last year and understanding when to get the ball out in a timely manner. I think that’s the biggest thing is finding completions when the defense does a good job of covering guys. So I’ve just got to keep learning from that and getting better in that area.”"

Things are about to get much tougher for Darnold. There’s no getting away from that.

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However, if this sort of production is a sign of things to come, then it would be a huge shock if Darnold fell flat on his face with the supreme weapons around him.