Sam Darnold must earn his teammates’ trust
Everyone has been saying the right things about Sam Darnold. Matt Rhule, Ben McAdoo, Christian McCaffrey, and D.J. Moore have all been highly complimentary about the quarterback this offseason, which is notable even though it’s not unexpected in the circumstances.
Darnold’s overall demeanor has reportedly been “night and day” compared to last season, according to Rhule. But earning the trust of his teammates during training camp is another key element that could help the player enormously.
This bears more significance if the Carolina Panthers decided to stand pat and rolled the dice with Darnold. If he fails, then the organization can throw Matt Corral in at the deep end to see what they have in the rookie.
Becoming a better leader and enhancing chemistry are the two main objectives. Darnold should also make it a priority to improve consistency once the pads go on in Spartanburg to further help his cause.
Whether Darnold gets a chance to do this is out of his control. If Baker Mayfield or Jimmy Garoppolo comes into the Panthers, he can kiss his chances of starting reps in camp goodbye.
If not, then getting his teammates onside is the best possible avenue for Darnold to install confidence in his abilities.