5 ways Panthers QB Sam Darnold can thrive vs. the Saints in Week 2

(Photo by Mike Comer/Getty Images) Sam Darnold
(Photo by Mike Comer/Getty Images) Sam Darnold /
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Sam Darnold
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /

87. Panthers +3.0. 1-0. 15. FOX. Sunday, Sept 19. 1-0. 1 PM ET

How can Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold build on a promising first competitive game against the New Orleans Saints in Week 2?

It was an encouraging performance overall for Sam Darnold on his competitive debut for the Carolina Panthers. There were a couple of throws he’d like to have back and the red-zone fumble on fourth down, but going up against his former team in Week 1 didn’t seem to phase the signal-caller in the slightest.

Darnold will face far sterner challenges than the New York Jets. There’s no getting away from that.

That starts this Sunday when the Panthers take on the New Orleans Saints at Bank of America Stadium. Sean Payton’s men caused a real stir by thrashing the Green Bay Packers last time out and although they’re down a few key men, their roster is stacked with talent who could cause some complications for Darnold.

With this in mind, here are five ways Darnold can thrive against the Saints and get Carolina to a 2-0 record on Sunday.

Way No. 1

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

Sam Darnold needs to react quickly

The Saints know that the Carolina Panthers are vulnerable within their protection. So expect New Orleans to throw up some different looks to potentially confuse Sam Darnold and the offensive line.

This is something the former first-round pick needs to be ready for. Examining these fronts and reacting quickly to what he perceives is coming pre-snap will help Darnold and the Panthers significantly.

Easier said than done, obviously. But considering how composed Darnold was in Week 1, this should be a minimum requirement behind another strong outing.