Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule has confirmed that Sam Darnold will remain the team's starting quarterback despite being benched early in the fourth quarter of a 25-3 loss to the Carolina Panthers. With just over 12 minutes left in the game, Darnold was benched for quarterback P.J.
Walker. "Just felt like we needed somewhat of a spark,'' coach Rhule said of the quarterback change. "Sam will be our quarterback next week. He will be our quarterback moving forward.' ' The Panthers are rumored to be interested in trading for Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson.
"I believe Sam is going to be a great quarterback for the Carolina Panthers, and I haven't done any work on anyone else,'' Rhule said Thursday on a conference call with Giants beat writers. "He's my focus, and I expect him to play his best football moving forward.
"I'm not looking anywhere else.' '
Darnold has struggled for the past four games
After leading the Panthers to a 3-0 record, Darnold's form dipped and the Panthers are now on a four-game losing streak.
"Throwing on time, taking the open receiver, being patient, protecting the football, not throwing off his back foot,'' Rhule said of what has been different about Darnold the past four games. "He had some times on third down where guys were open.
We're predetermining the thinking. Again, I can understand young quarterbacks go through that. We're obviously not coaching Sam well enough. "This isn't about Sam. We needed more from the run game. We needed some explosive plays.
We needed some big catches.' ' Coach Rhule acknowledged that all quarterbacks go through ups and downs. "I've been on record,'' Rhule said. "Quarterbacks go through ups and downs. Sam's got to take care of the football.
Sam's got to throw on time. If it's not there, he's got to find a checkdown. We can't be driving with a chance to take the lead and throw an interception. "His sense of urgency this week, I expect to be heightened.'
' Asked if he was embarrassed, Darnold said: "When you get to that point, getting pulled, I just internalize it. Honestly, it's more of those situations where it is what it is. He thought at the time that would provide a spark putting P.J.
in there.' ' "We're not winning right now,'' he said. "It's going to take all of us. He just needs a lot of help from a lot of guys right now that he's not getting. I see the good moments, too. We're going to keep coaching him.' '