Scott Fitterer: We want Sam Darnold to just flush what’s happened

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The Panthers had the option of selecting quarterbacks Justin Fields and Mac Jones at No. 8 overall last week, but elected to go with cornerback Jaycee Horn.

As head coach Matt Rhule explained it, the club felt like it was better sticking with quarterback Sam Darnold and drafting a piece for the secondary rather than doubling down at QB.

So with Darnold in line to be Carolina’s starter in 2021, General Manager Scott Fitterer said in a recent interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio that he wants the former No. 3 pick to essentially hit the reset button on his career.

“We went out and traded for Sam because we saw the talent on tape. We think we can help him,” Fitterer said. “We want him to kind of just flush what’s happened. He’s only 23 years old. He played in a big media market, high-round pick. Just come here, let the players down here help you out. We surrounded him with a lot of good talent at receiver, we have the best running back in football, we’re going to have a really strong offensive line, and we’ve added to our defense. All of that plays together.

“He doesn’t just have to do it by himself. He just has to be Sam and work with [offensive coordinator] Joe [Brady], work with Sean Ryan, our quarterbacks coach. Don’t try to make the big plays, don’t try to go outside of himself. Just play football. Play it fast, play it loose and let the guys make plays with you.”

Darnold threw for 2,208 yards with nine touchdowns an 11 interceptions in 12 games last year for the Jets. After acquiring him for three draft picks, the Panthers will see this year if he can be better for a team in the NFC South.

9 responses to “Scott Fitterer: We want Sam Darnold to just flush what’s happened

  1. So, in other words the Jets are a toilet.

  2. Darnold, like Sanchez who came before him, can probably be a serviceable starter on a team that’s surrounded with talent and where he’s not asked to do too much.

    Like Darnold, Sanchez was able to to fool a GM into giving him a second chance because he “saw the talent on tape.”

    Like Darnold, Sanchez couldn’t eliminate the bad decisions that led to multiple turnovers between those flashy throws.

    The problem is giving up three draft picks, 2 years, and over 20 million dollars for a guy whose ceiling is “game manager that makes an amazing throw now and then.”

  3. I watched every snap of both Sanchez & Darnold with the Jets. Sanchez was given the best D and best OL league and they would not have even made the playoffs had Manning not been pulled from a game to rest for playoffs in week 16 2009. Sanchez did play well in the playoffs, but in both 2009 & to a lesser extent in 2010, the team won IN SPITE of him. Darnold was given one of the worst Ds and a bad OL. I like Sam and hope he succeeds, but the tape does not lie – he is not good at reading pre-snap coverage and he does not anticipate the spot to throw to when his receiver is going to be open. Prime example of that was his injury in the Denver game – ball should have been out 2 seconds before he was body slammed (which of course resulted in no flag, sorry, had to get that in). Darnold also makes 1 or 2 critical mistakes every game. The Jets just did not see enough to trade the #2 for a king’s ransom and keep him. The goal is a championship and the odds that Darnold can take a team there were just too long.

  4. If you’re a quarterback drafted by the Jets or Bears, you will fail. It’s probably worth it for the Panthers to try to work with the raw material Darnold has before he’s permanently ruined. It will look like a good decision when Fields fails with the Bears, even though he probably would have succeeded with the Panthers. They’ll have another chance at a quarterback next year if it doesn’t work out, and probably something better than the fourth one available.

  5. I hate to break it to you Scott… but they don’t make water hot enough to wash the Jets funk off.

  6. The Panthers are doing this the right way. They are setting Darnold up to succeed–unlike the Jets who put him in a position to fail. Will Darold thrive in Carolina? No one knows but at least he’s got the supporting cast around him to make it possible.

  7. Ignore the haters. They’ll always be there with their hate. As a Jets fan though, I’m personally rooting for Sam to do well with Carolina. Except whenever he plays against the Jets. It wasn’t Sam’s fault that it didn’t work with the Jets. I put all of that blame 100% on Gase. The Jets did Sam a favor by trading him. The fan base would have been screaming for his scalp at the first loss or first interception. With Zack, the fan base will be much more patient and willing to go through the growing pain portion of his career. Both Zack and Sam will be just fine.

  8. Darnold could easily become an elite QB. There have been so many great QB’s get drafted by lousy teams through the years, only to be traded away and then win super bowls when they went to stable teams. Steve Young. Brett Favre. Jim Plunkett. Drew Brees. It’s happened a lot, and it will happen again. It’s really not that difficult to understand. The Jets are competing for the title of worst run team in football, while Carolina has done just about everything right since they got a new owner. Obviously, time will tell.

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