3 reasons Carolina Panthers starting Sam Darnold is the right call

(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) Sam Darnold
(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) Sam Darnold /
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Sam Darnold is back as the starting quarterback, which is the right call for the Carolina Panthers to make given the difficult circumstances. 

The quarterback merry-go-round continued for the Carolina Panthers this week when interim head coach Steve Wilks named Sam Darnold as the team’s starter for their upcoming Week 12 game against the Denver Broncos. Something that wasn’t entirely unexpected given Baker Mayfield‘s struggles at the Baltimore Ravens.

This carousel is a damning indictment of how things have gone for the Panthers since their controversial decision to release Cam Newton in 2020. It’s been one failed move after another, something which led to Matt Rhule’s firing and the organization constantly underachieving despite having a strong young core at other key positions.

Darnold’s trade is probably the worst move of the bunch. But the former USC standout will now get one final opportunity to prove he can capably lead an NFL franchise at the expense of his fellow top-three 2018 draft selection.

It’s a controversial issue, for sure. However, here are three reasons why the Panthers starting Darnold is the right call to make in Week 12.

Reason No. 1

Carolina Panthers
(Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /

Sam Darnold could improve behind better Carolina Panthers OL

The production of Sam Darnold since entering the NFL leaves a lot to be desired. It’s been a series of missed opportunities and suspect decision-making, which didn’t get any better following his trade from the New York Jets in 2021.

Darnold started well but faded quickly last season. But this will undoubtedly be the best offensive line he’s ever had the benefit of working behind over his five-year career.

Whether Darnold can capitalize on this alongside a strong running game against a decent Denver Broncos defense remains to be seen. The Carolina Panthers are playing for very little other than pride right now, so it won’t hurt to find out one way or another.