How can the Carolina Panthers help quarterback Sam Darnold when they take on the New Orleans Saints in Week 2?
The NFL is a fast-moving league. Although Sam Darnold showed some encouraging signs against his former team in Week 1, it will count for nothing if he cannot produce the same or improve in the face of better opposition this Sunday when the New Orleans Saints come to town.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that this poses a far bigger challenge than what the New York Jets gave the Carolina Panthers last weekend. The Saints blew away the Green Bay Packers in a real turn up for the books, so even though they are missing some influential figures, Matt Rhule’s men need to be at the top of their game to come away with a positive result.
Darnold will be at the center of this, obviously. But he also needs some assistance from his teammates and coaches in pursuit of starting the campaign with a 2-0 record.
With this in mind, here are four ways the Panthers can help their new signal-caller in Week 2 against the Saints.
Way No. 1
Establishing the run will help Sam Darnold
Although Sam Darnold is hugely important to the Carolina Panthers, everything good still goes through the run game and Christian McCaffrey. The All-Pro was in fantastic form in Week 1 following a 308-day absence from meaningful action, which is going to be a key component of any progress that comes the team’s way in 2021.
Setting the tempo in the run game is critical. New Orleans gave up just 43 yards on the ground against the Packers, so McCaffrey and the offensive line have a huge task on their hands.
If McCaffrey can generate some early success – which is well within his capabilities – then this should open things up for Darnold in the passing game.