Carolina Panthers general manager Scott Fitterer has revealed Sam Darnold would have been the team's starting quarterback if the season started today. A year ago, the Panthers traded for Darnold, hoping he would turn be their long-term answer at the quarterback position.
Unfortunately for the Panthers and Darnold, the quarterback failed to impress in his first year in Carolina. Still, Darnold appears to be set to be given another chance to prove himself in Carolina. In this past NFL draft, the Panthers selected quarterback Matt Corral in the third round.
“Sam is the number one guy right now,” Fitterer said during his appearance on #PFTPM. “He has every opportunity to take it and run with it. We hope he does well. We’ve seen improvement already under [offensive coordinator] Ben McAdoo.
He’s working hard, he’s throwing the ball well. He’s just got to take it and run with it. He’s got to own the position. The one thing we’re looking to do is stabilize the position. It’s been up and down, up and down.
We’re bringing in Matt Corral. P.J. Walker‘s already here. We’ll see how it goes. He’s in the lead right now, but until someone really owns that position, gives us an opportunity to win, it will always be up for grabs”.
The Panthers giving another chance to Darnold
Darnold's got off to a strong start to his stint with the Panthers as he led the team to a 3-0 record. After a strong start to the year, Darnold's performances went downhill and the team finished the year with a 5-12 record and missed out on the playoffs.
It should be noted that Darnold didn't play in all games as he was out for several games due to an injury. “I thought he did play well the first three games,” Fitterer said. “I thought he played really well even into the Dallas game.
He played well in the first half. I think injuries, losing [Christian] McCaffrey did play a factor in it, but really it was the inconsistency of the offensive line. There was too much leakage up there. That was one priority going into this offseason, improving the offensive line.
We brought in three new bodies that we think can come in and help us start. Drafted a left tackle here in the first round. I think that can only help the quarterback. With Sam when he has time, he delivered the ball [and] looked good, but when he didn’t have time, even when Cam Newton was here, he didn’t have time.
It’s hard to play that position and it’s not solely on the quarterback, it’s on us. It’s on the whole offense but one of the big steps we did take was fixing that offensive line”.