4 crucial observations from Sam Darnold in Panthers 2022 training camp

(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) Sam Darnold
(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) Sam Darnold /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /

Carolina Panthers QB competition brought focus from Sam Darnold

Sam Darnold has not had to fight for much during his NFL career. He immediately assumed starting responsibilities with the New York Jets and this trend continued in 2021 when the Carolina Panthers sacrificed three draft picks over a two-year period to bring the quarterback on board.

The cards are now stacked against Darnold. Not many are expecting the former first-round selection to beat out Baker Mayfield for the No. 1 spot, so there was a big question mark surrounding how he would react to splitting reps with Carolina’s most recent gamble under center.

As it turned out, this brought about an added sense of urgency from Darnold. There were some rash decisions during 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 in keeping with what he’s produced during a disappointing NFL career to date, but there were plenty of memorable moments from the player to keep his foot in the door.

Matt Rhule and Ben McAdoo both claimed that they need a prolonged period of assessment before deciding what the best option is. Even if there was clearly a different aura and tempo with Mayfield manning the plate.

With that being said, Darnold also caught the eye, embracing competition he’d not experienced previously since entering the league as a top-five pick with the weight of the world on his shoulders.