5 ways Panthers QB Sam Darnold can make his former team pay in Week 1

(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 Sports) Sam Darnold /

Sam Darnold needs to trust his playmakers

As far as situations go, this is arguably the best one Sam Darnold could have arrived in during the offseason. Perhaps not from an offensive line standpoint, but the Carolina Panthers are absolutely loaded with skill position players who can make a significant difference all over the field.

This is something Darnold has never had before. If he fluffs his lines in a different environment, the quarterback won’t ever be trusted to start prominently again.

Darnold needs to recognize that there is no need to play hero ball all the time. A lack of quality on the New York Jets meant he was constantly forcing the issue, which the player doesn’t need to do in Carolina.

There is nothing wrong with trusting the likes of Christian McCaffrey, D.J. Moore, and second-round pick Terrace Marshall Jr., to get the job done, Of course, Robby Anderson also has some extra motivation in Week 1 against a team that criminally underused the wideout over a four-year period.

The protection has to hold up their end of the bargain. Otherwise, it’s going to be a long afternoon and season for Darnold at the worst possible time.

Fortunately for the signal-caller, a supremely talented offense that’s been further bolstered by a consistent tight end catching presence in Dan Arnold should be enough for things to progress in a pretty substantial way if everything goes according to plan.