Sam Darnold, Panthers

Sam Darnold ‘excited’ to start for Panthers once again

The 2022 season for the Carolina Panthers has been marred largely by offensive inconsistency.

Much of which has come with the lackluster play under center. All that has pushed the Panthers toward interim head coach Steve Wilks going with Sam Darnold as the starter for Week 12 action against the Denver Broncos in his season debut.

In light of that, Darnold voiced excitement over the chance to get back on the field for his first regular-season game since the Jan. 9 loss to Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“I’m just excited to play football,” Darnold said via Mike Kaye of the Charlotte Observer. “I’m excited to be able to go out there and play with the guys. The biggest thing for me is playing consistent, and taking what they give me. I think that’ll kind of be the story of the day on Sunday, and I’m excited to go out there and do what I can to help this team win.”

Darnold has much to play for beyond just a starting job with the Panthers. He is in the final year of his rookie contract, hoping to cash in with a significant deal with Carolina or elsewhere.

Throughout his career, Darnold has struggled with consistency and production. He has shown flashes of promise but hasn’t built upon that toward leading his team to sustained success.

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Meanwhile, Darnold’s return to the starting lineup pushes Baker Mayfield further down the bench. Mayfield’s first campaign with the Panthers has been anything but encouraging as he lost the starting job and may head into next offseason surrounded by uncertainty.

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