On Wednesday morning, a report indicated the Carolina Panthers were pulling out of the Deshaun Watson sweepstakes.
According to Ian Rapoport, the Panthers are “not expected to pursue” Watson at this time. He left the door open for Carolina to go after Watson in the offseason – if his off-field issues are resolved.
With that in mind, reporters asked Panthers head coach Matt Rhule about current starting quarterback Sam Darnold. Rhule expressed confidence in Darnold, despite his recent struggles.
“For me right now, I’m focused on this week and trying to to beat Atlanta,” Rhule said. “Feel really good about Sam.”
Matt Rhule speaks to the media on Wednesday https://t.co/A4VsswAxns
— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) October 27, 2021
Rhule made it clear Darnold needs to play better, though.
“Obviously wasn’t a great game this past game,” Rhule added. “At the end of the day, when Sam goes back and watches himself or our whole team goes back and watches themselves against the New Orleans Saints, we see exactly what he is and was and can be, and we’ve just got to get back to that spot. Obviously, as you know, I can’t comment on any other player. I’m focused on Sam and getting him back to the level he was playing at. I think that has to be everyone’s focus.”
For now, Rhule and the Panthers need Darnold and need him to play well. After a 3-0 start to the season where Darnold looked like an MVP candidate, he’s taken a massive step back during Carolina’s 0-4 run.