4 critical flaws that Carolina Panthers QB Sam Darnold cannot fix

Dean Jones
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Sam Darnold
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Sam Darnold /
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Sam Darnold
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /

Sam Darnold folds under pressure

When the chips are down, everyone looks to the quarterback.

The team leader. The driving force.

Unfortunately for the Carolina Panthers, Sam Darnold is not a player that inspires confidence or optimism of any kind.

The early signs from training camp and over the first three games were encouraging. But it’s now apparent this was a blip on Darnold’s overall trajectory.

When Darnold is under pressure, he folds like a cheap suit. And it’s very hard to win football games as a result.

We are now midway through the 2021 season, so there is a large sample size to determine whether Darnold is the answer or not. As it turned out, the player is as advertised and the Panthers are now facing the prospect of starting over yet again during a crucial third year under head coach Matt Rhule.

Making something out of nothing when players don’t develop as expected is the key component behind every successful quarterback. Perhaps the ghosts of New York are too much for Darnold to overcome in this regard.

Whether the Panthers stick with Darnold for their remaining fixtures is yet to be determined. But the player can have no complaints if he was benched in favor of P.J. Walker at this juncture.