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
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /

Sam Darnold must remain fearless

One notable element of Sam Darnold’s game that came in for significant praise in Week 1 was how he handled himself in the pocket. The Carolina Panthers weren’t able to prevent pressure to a satisfactory level at any stage, which could have caused some big-time complications considering how the No. 3 overall selection in 2018 performed under pressure during his time on the New York Jets.

Thankfully, the coaching Darnold’s received from Sean Ryan this offseason is already reaping some pretty impressive rewards. The signal-caller looked far more convincing and confident in the pocket, making some decisive throws with oncoming rushers in his face for probably the first time in his career.

Having improved footwork also helped. But this is still a work in progress and something that should improve further as the campaign goes on.

One thing is for certain.

The Panthers need more of the same from Darnold this weekend against the New Orleans Saints, who’ll be bringing the heat constantly in the hope he’ll return to the figure we saw plenty at MetLife Stadium.

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Darnold needs to hold his nerve and remain fearless. If this also comes with conviction with his throws under pressure, it should be another good afternoon for the player.