5 critical observations from Sam Darnold’s 2021 season

(Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) Sam Darnold
(Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) Sam Darnold /
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Sam Darnold
(Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /

What were some critical observations from Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold’s performances during the 2021 season?

Acquiring Sam Darnold from the New York Jets was a major gamble by the Carolina Panthers. The move was set to finally unleash the quarterback’s potential after a torrid three years at MetLife Stadium, but what transpired was far from what anyone associated with the organization had in mind.

Darnold’s issues didn’t disappear and there are now far more questions than answers about not only his future in Carolina but his overall career prospects in the NFL. The Panthers stated that the signal-caller would be coming back in 2022, even if his status as the team’s starter is far from guaranteed at this juncture.

This has the potential to set the Panthers back for a considerable period of time. Matt Rhule’s confidence and constant coddling of Darnold might also be his undoing when it’s all said and done.

Without further ado, here are five critical observations from Darnold’s performances during the 2021 season.

Critical Observation No. 1

Sam Darnold
(Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /

Sam Darnold could not build on a good start

Things looked pretty promising for Sam Darnold right out of the gate. A strong training camp and three outstanding wins to begin the campaign left many believing this change in environment could finally propel the quarterback’s game to even greater heights.

However, things came apart quite quickly thereafter.

Darnold reverted to type as a season went on. Turnovers were plentiful and confidence waned both within the player, across the Panthers, and from analysts who were forced to go back on their increased optimism in a hurry.

This was a fantastic platform from which to build for Darnold. Simply put, he wasn’t up to the task.