4 things we discovered about the Carolina Panthers in Week 8

Dean Jones
(Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports) Derrick Brown and DaQuan Jones
(Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports) Derrick Brown and DaQuan Jones /
3 of 4
Carolina Panthers
(Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /

Carolina Panthers don’t need Sam Darnold to be a hero

Sam Darnold‘s regression during recent weeks left many wondering whether the Carolina Panthers made the right call acquiring the quarterback via trade from the New York Jets.

Not having Christian McCaffrey as the primary focal point saw the signal-caller try and force the issue in front of a tepid offensive line. Something that inevitably came with mistakes and a plethora of interceptions to evaporate what was an encouraging start overall.

This was all the Panthers needed to take the responsibility off Darnold and onto the running game. That might not be to the benefit of playmakers such as D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson, but the latter has been far from reliable anyway and there is clearly something amiss.

Darnold does not have to pick this team up and lead from the front in a similar fashion to what Carolina got from Cam Newton during the peak of his powers. Just make good decisions, manage games well, don’t turn the football over, and gain yards on the ground when the opportunity arises.

The former first-round pick out of USC accomplished this well at the Atlanta Falcons. Not coincidentally, it also saw Darnold get back on track before a brutal hit saw him leave the game late on and enter the NFL’s concussion protocol.

Only time will tell as to whether Darnold is ready to go in Week 9. But considering the problems he’s encountered against Bill Belichick in the past, this might be a good game to miss for his long-term aspirations.