4 Panthers players with potential to get hot down the stretch in 2022
By Dean Jones
Sam Darnold – Carolina Panthers QB
The Carolina Panthers aren’t tasking Sam Darnold with all that much since his return to the starting lineup. This has been a recipe for success so far, but there will obviously come a time when the offense needs their quarterback to come through in tense situations in pursuit of a surprising NFC South crown.
Darnold’s efficiency and extra care for the football continue to impress. His second turnover-free game at the Seattle Seahawks was needed considering how close things were until late, with the player’s command at the line of scrimmage within a hostile environment something else that assisted greatly in Week 14.
This is all positive for Darnold, who came into the campaign with his career prospects in tatters after the Panthers drafted Matt Corral and secured the services of Baker Mayfield via trade from the Cleveland Browns. However, the USC product’s remained focused and locked in – even on injured/reserve – which enabled him to seize another chance to reignite his career.
What transpires over the next month will impact Darnold more than most. If the No. 3 overall selection in 2018 returns to the player of old, it’s going to be nothing short of a disaster with some winnable remaining games on the schedule.
But if Darnold rises to the occasion and gets hot down the stretch, then his chances of getting another deal in Carolina – albeit a short-term one – increase exponentially.