Darnold’s long-, short-term future with Panthers in doubt

Carolina Panthers

Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold passes against the New England Patriots during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 7, 2021, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Panthers traded away three draft picks for Sam Darnold with the idea they could resurrect his career and he could develop into the franchise’s long-term answer at quarterback.

Now it will be a surprise if Darnold can keep his starting job through the remainder of the season. Darnold’s struggles continued Sunday as the fourth-year quarterback turned in another turnover-plagued outing, throwing three interceptions including a pick-six in a 24-6 loss to the New England Patriots.

“At the end of the day…I don’t want to lay things on one person, but we can’t continue to just keep throwing the ball up,” said Head Coach Matt Rhule during the postgame press conference. “Like we’ve got to protect the football…to me those are decision-making things that we have talked about…and here we are in game nine of the season and it hasn’t happened.”

“I can’t turn the ball over,” said Darnold following the loss. “That’s one thing any coach will tell you. I gotta stop turning the ball over. As far as I know I’m the starting quarterback. So I’m going to continue to play and continue to give it my all for this team.”

Darnold has now thrown 10 interceptions in Carolina’s last six games, five of which have been losses. It’s unclear if he will start next week at Arizona.

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