5 major observations from Sam Darnold in Week 1 vs. NY Jets

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /
3 of 5
Sam Darnold
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /

Sam Darnold was not helped by his OL in the third quarter

The concerns surrounding the protection in front of Sam Darnold were well documented throughout the offseason. A patchwork group of individuals assisted only by the outstanding right tackle Taylor Moton left more than a sense of trepidation – something that really came across after the half-time interval.

It was a third-quarter that looked similar to what the Carolina Panthers produced during most games in 2020. They came out flat and allowed the New York Jets to hang around, score a touchdown, and keep them competitive in a game that should have been out of sight long before.

The Jets seemed to generate pressure at will in the third quarter. This meant Darnold was hit plenty and failed to move the chains as consistently as he’d done in the first half.

Carolina will face far bigger challenges than the Jets defensive front as the season progresses, so this was more than a little concerning. Credit to Joe Brady for calling some good schemes and allowing the playmakers enough time to do damage.

Thankfully for Darnold and the Panthers, it did not impact the eventual result.

Against a higher standard of opposition, however, it could have been a different story and certainly something to worry about moving forward unless the necessary adjustments are made.