Matt Rhule hints at plan for Sam Darnold return
The Carolina Panthers will have Sam Darnold available against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, and coach Matt Rhule hinted that he has a role in mind for the quarterback.
The Panthers have primarily relied on Cam Newton since his signing, with Darnold out since Week 9 due to a shoulder injury. Rhule made clear that Newton will again draw the start on Sunday, but that Darnold will see some reps.
Rhule had an interesting explanation for his decision: he said he wants Darnold to get the chance to show what he can do and reclaim the role of an NFL starter.
Rhule says he would like to give Darnold a chance to show what he can do – if he can get back to the level of being a starter in the NFL.
— Sheena Quick (@Sheena_Marie3) December 22, 2021
Most will ask what the point of this is. At this point, Darnold’s NFL stock is pretty clear. The 24-year-old is in his fourth NFL season and has not shown consistent high-level ability. He has not always been in good situations, but he hasn’t looked any better with Carolina than he did in New York. The Panthers seem to know that, and it’s why they were consistently linked to another quarterback for much of the year.
On the other hand, Rhule has demonstrated a whole lot of belief in Darnold. Maybe he’s determined to give Darnold every chance he possibly can.