In the NFL, a quarterback is either a game manager or a winner.
In the case of the Carolina Panthers’ Sam Darnold, we have seen him be both. In the season opener against his old team, the New York Jets, Darnold did just enough to secure the win.
When Christian McCaffrey went down with a hamstring injury against Houston, Darnold put the team on his back for a convincing 24-9 win.
Despite not being what most Panthers fans hoped for or expected under center, Darnold, thus far has been solid. He has proven that he isn’t bad. He could have been worse for Carolina. However, to me, it’s still too early to crown Darnold as a long-term solution to the Panthers’ needs at quarterback, let alone being, as Terry Bradshaw calls him “the best quarterback in franchise history”. Yes, Bradshaw said something so asinine.
Look, whether you loved Cam Newton or not, what you won’t do is act like what he accomplished as a Panther was nothing. In case you need a reminder, Newton is the franchise leader in passing yards, completions, and touchdowns. Plus, Newton won an MVP, Offensive Player Of The Year and lead the Panthers to the Super Bowl.
Darnold has played only five games as a Panther. Again, the job he’s doing is commendable and respectable. However, heaping such lofty praise that’s driven by hate is setting him up for excessive and unfair criticism.
Granted, Darnold is sounding like a great comeback story and his success is also tied to the contribution to the success of the team as a whole. However to crown him the best in the franchise is way premature.