Sam Darnold has been good with the Panthers, however he’s no Cam Newton

The resolution to commerce for Sam Darnold has up to now been among the best offers of the NFL season. Carolina noticed a chance to roll the cube on a quarterback they believed was trapped on a nasty Jets staff, and should have discovered a franchise participant out of it. That’s a hell of a return for under giving up a six spherical decide, in addition to a future second and fifth.

That mentioned, we are able to admire Darnold with out going overboard to the purpose of shedding any sense of time and house — like Terry Bradshaw.

“I feel [the Panthers] have hit on the very best quarterback in franchise historical past.”-Terry Bradshaw on Sam Darnold. #KeepPounding

— Jarrett Bailey (@JBaileyNFL) October 3, 2021

Bradshaw mentioned this earlier than the Panthers performed Dallas on Sunday, however truthfully that recreation didn’t actually weigh both approach. Darnold threw two interceptions, but in addition handed for 2 extra and ran in two scores. It was a wonderfully high quality recreation, which is necessary as a result of it doesn’t permit for wiggle room on Bradshaw’s assertion.

The Panthers have executed a exceptional job constructing the offense to assist Darnold’s skillset. In New York there was little or no in the best way of assist schematically, inflicting him to fail. Carolina doesn’t have a great offensive line to supply safety, however they’re drawing up performs to make the most of fast reads, deep throws the place obtainable, and loads of outlet routes which permits Darnold to construct rhythm and luxury within the offense.

Darnold’s rapport with prime receiver D.J. Moore is already paying dividends, with Moore sitting at 4th within the league in receiving yards with 398, and on tempo for over 1,500 yards on the season, which might be a profession excessive — even with out the seventeenth recreation.

Finally there’s Darnold’s goal-line working, which has already warranted memes. Instead of throwing the ball in strain conditions within the pink zone, the staff is just calling Darnold’s quantity. For some motive groups nonetheless aren’t believing Darnold will really run the ball, permitting him to scamper for 5 touchdowns this season, placing him on observe to attain 21 — seven greater than Cam Newton’s finest season. This shouldn’t be a degree of emphasis, however somewhat an appreciation of hilarity.

In complete the scenario seems to be excellent for Carolina, and so they need to be overjoyed with Darnold’s efficiency up to now, however it’s a far cry from that to “finest quarterback in franchise historical past,” as Bradshaw is suggesting. Firstly, no, no he’s not. Cam Newton exists. So does Jake Delhomme. Hell, even Steve Buererlein is within the dialogue right here forward of Darnold. Secondly, it’s been 4 video games. We can actually chill on making ludicrous proclamations so early.

I do know everyone seems to be within the quest for warm takes. Hell, we heard them when Darnold was traded for. So many NFL writers and personalities rushed to say Darnold could be horrible, solely to be confirmed incorrect — now there’s whiplash and he’s immediately a legend. We can merely take a measured method and say “that is wanting actually good up to now,” and go away it at that. Let me illustrate the hazard of gleaning an excessive amount of off a 4 recreation stretch. Let’s examine some latest Panthers QBs over their first 4 begins, then we are able to talk about the place Darnold belongs.

Panthers QB comparability over first 4 begins

Sam Darnold 99 146 1,189 8.1 5 3 95.4
Teddy Bridgewater 103 141 1,147 8.1 4 3 97.4
Cam Newton 104 163 1,386 8.5 5 5 88.1
Matt Moore 63 99 725 7.3 3 3 83.1
Jake Delhomme 53 93 510 5.5 4 4 68.8

I do know it’s fairly spectacular to see this and say “wow, Sam Darnold is doing higher than Cam Newton,” however it’s decidedly much less wonderful to say “Darnold is worst than Teddy Bridgewater.” Panthers followers know that Teddy began 2020 sizzling, then fell off a cliff — and the identical chance stays open for Darnold.

Now, to his credit score, Darnold seems to be like he has a much better command of what Carolina is attempting to do on offense than Bridgewater did, and he’s keen to take extra pictures downfield to open issues up — however that doesn’t change how ludicrously untimely it’s to say “Well, he’s the very best in franchise historical past.”

Darnold ought to be joyful together with his efficiency up to now. It’s been a vibrant spot in an already stunning season for the Panthers, and proved incorrect those that mentioned this commerce was a bust. However, we’ve a protracted strategy to go earlier than anointing him as the very best quarterback in franchise historical past. One step at a time. It’s okay to not have a sizzling take but.

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