Sam Darnold is currently the No. 1 quarterback for the Panthers, but the team has not been shy about looking around at other options and there’s still a chance that they could make a move to change the makeup of the depth chart before the season gets underway.
That hasn’t done much to shake Darnold’s belief in himself, however. Darnold said on Tuesday, via David Newton of ESPN.com, that he is “confident I can be one of the best quarterbacks in the league” despite four years that have provided little evidence to support that feeling.
Darnold also said that he’s working to improve his footwork, which got “chaotic” during the 2021 season. That effort fits with Darnold’s overall approach to preparing for the season amid chatter about his short- and long-term future in the NFL.
Unless the Panthers make a move for Baker Mayfield or Jimmy Garoppolo, it seems likely that Darnold will be under center in Week 1. How long he stays there will likely come down to how much improvement comes from that self-directed focus.