4 big Carolina Panthers storylines to watch at the Falcons in Week 8

Dean Jones
(Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) Matt Rhule
(Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) Matt Rhule /
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Carolina Panthers
(Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /

Sam Darnold’s last chance to impress?

The strong start to the 2021 season from Sam Darnold couldn’t appear any further away at this juncture. A torrid run over the last four games – each one resulting in defeat for the Carolina Panthers – means there are more doubts than ever about the decision to acquire the quarterback via trade from the New York Jets.

Darold is a likable guy.

But there is just something missing regarding his poise and command under center.

The Deshaun Watson talk came at just the wrong time for the USC product this week. Darnold knows he should be doing better, but Carolina making calls to the Houston Texans while he’s trying to put things right wasn’t exactly the biggest confidence boost.

Simply put, Darnold should not worry about what he cannot control.

But this might be his final opportunity to silence the criticism.

Once touted as the next big thing coming out of college, Darnold got the benefit of the doubt for a troubling three years on the Jets. However, the same complications have now resurfaced without Christian McCaffrey alongside him in the backfield.

Must Read. 4 reasons the Carolina Panthers are clueless without Christian McCaffrey. light

This is the last chance saloon for Darnold to win people around. Although this appears to be a hard task given his poor production, players dropping passes, and an offensive line that’s among the league’s worst in pass protection.