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#pounditSaturday, December 3, 2022

Panthers coach has incredibly low expectations for Sam Darnold

Sam Darnold throwing a pass

Aug 21, 2021; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold (14) warms up before the game at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Panthers tentatively plan to start Sam Darnold at quarterback this season, but it certainly does not sound like they are expecting much from him.

Panthers coach Matt Rhule had a remarkably low set of expectations for Darnold when speaking Wednesday. Rhule said his goal with Darnold is simply to minimize “catastrophic” mistakes and turnovers.

“It’s the National Football League and you are going to have interceptions, but we don’t want three-interception games or four-interception games,” Rhule said, via Steve Reed of the Associated Press. “That can’t happen routinely, and it can’t happen because we are being careless with the football.”

Rhule isn’t even asking Darnold to sharpen his throws or guide the Panthers to the playoffs, though he’d surely love that. It’s a pretty strong indictment of the quarterback that the big worry entering his fifth season is simply to cut down on catastrophic turnovers. The quarterback turned the ball over 17 times in 2021, so it’s certainly a justified focus.

Darnold, for his part, remains incredibly confident in his own abilities. The Panthers just don’t seem to share that confidence right now.

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