HomeSportsSam Darnold expected to play a 'substantial amount' for Panthers, could retake...

Sam Darnold expected to play a ‘substantial amount’ for Panthers, could retake starting job, per report

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The Carolina Panthers have their starting quarterback back — and plan to give Sam Darnold all the opportunities possible to prove he should keep the job past this year. Darnold was activated from injured reserve Sunday and will serve as the backup quarterback for Cam Newton in the team’s Week 16 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, with a catch.

Per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Panthers are expected to play Darnold after a few series and give him a “substantial amount” of playing time based on how he plays when he enters the game. Darnold has missed five games with an incomplete fracture of his right throwing shoulder, forcing the team to play P.J. Walker before signing Newton last month to fill in while Darnold healed. 

Newton started the last four games for the Panthers. He completed 54.1% of his passes for 615 yards with three touchdowns to four interceptions with a 64.6 passer rating, losing all four of his starts. Newton does have 38 carries for 169 yards and four rushing touchdowns in those four starts. 

Darnold has completed 59.5% of his passes for 1,986 yards with seven touchdowns to 11 interceptions in his nine starts, compiling a 71.3 passer rating. He also has 37 carries for 185 yards and five touchdowns on the ground. 

“We brought him here to be a starter, “Panthers head coach Matt Rhule said earlier this week. “We want to see if he can play at that level again.”

The Panthers will have three games to evaluate Darnold heading into 2022, easing him into the fold starting Sunday. Darnold is also the only quarterback under contract for next season. 

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