The Carolina Panthers made a pretty big investment in Sam Darnold, trading several mid-round draft picks to get him from the New York Jets. But head coach Matt Rhule has made his position on Darnold abundantly clear.
Speaking to the media on Monday, Rhule stated point blank that the Panthers believe in Sam Darnold. He stated that the team loves his skill set, his approach to the game and – perhaps above all – his tape.
“We believe in Sam,” Rhule said, via ProFootballTalk. “We believe in his skill set, we believe in his approach… I don’t think there’s a game you watch, he doesn’t make a play where you don’t say ‘there it is’. I think his arm talent, his movement, are a great fit for the guys here that he’ll be playing with.”
Matt Rhule has been a fan of Sam Darnold ever since they met in 2019 when he interviewed for the Jets head coaching job. He didn’t get the job and spent one more year with the Baylor Bears before being hired by Carolina in 2020.
Rhule on the Darnold Trade: "We believe in Sam, we believe in his skill set, his approach:
"We're hopeful this will be a tremendous time for him,"
— Christian Audi (@TheEpicAudi) April 12, 2021
Rhule said he only first met Darnold as a member of the Panthers prior to the Monday press conference.
But Rhule stopped short of naming Darnold the starter off the bat. On paper, Darnold is in a position battle with incumbent starter Teddy Bridgewater.
Will Sam Darnold be the long-term answer for the Carolina Panthers at quarterback?