Carolina has designated Sam Darnold to return from injured reserve, opening the quarterback’s 21-day practice window.
Darnold has been out since suffering a shoulder injury in Carolina’s Week Nine loss to New England. While Darnold started the season well, he quickly regressed. In his last five starts, Darnold completed just 52 percent of his passes for 797 yards with a pair of touchdowns, eight interceptions, and a lost fumble.
Overall, Darnold completed 60 percent of his passes for 1,986 yards with seven touchdowns, 11 picks, and a pair of lost fumbles in nine starts.
Since then, head coach Matt Rhule fired offensive coordinator Joe Brady and inserted senior offensive assistant Jeff Nixon as offensive play-caller.
After trading for Darnold in the spring, the Panthers picked up Darnold’s fifth-year option so his 2022 salary is guaranteed.
Carolina is just 1-3 in its last four games since Darnold’s injury. Cam Newton is 0-3 in his starts, completing 59 percent of his passes for 467 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions, while also rushing for 112 yards and four touchdowns. P.J. Walker has completed 55 percent of his passes this season for 362 yards with one touchdown and three picks.
Cornerback Stantley Thomas-Oliver has also been designated to return from IR.
The Panthers travel to Buffalo to take on the Bills this week.