Carolina Panthers training camp is just a few days away, and the team has plenty of questions to answer in the coming months. While the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the team to beat in the division, the Panthers could make a push for a wild card spot if everything goes right. However, this team needs to address some glaring issues before they’re ready to compete for anything.
Major Questions Surround Carolina Panthers Training Camp
Is Sam Darnold The Guy?
For the third time in as many seasons, the Carolina Panthers will have a new face under center. Following one year of the Teddy Bridgewater Era, Carolina decided to ship away the journeyman passer and tie their fate to former New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold.
No matter how you slice it up, Sam Darnold did not play well with New York. Since 2018, the quarterback ranks dead last in EPA/play among quarterbacks with 1,000 or more snaps. A poor supporting cast and coach certainly played a role in these disappointing numbers, but you would’ve liked to see SOMETHING out of Darnold in New York.
Today’s NFL is all about the passing game. No matter how good the rest of the team is, you simply cannot consistently win games without the ability to move the ball through the air. Carolina has a solid receiving core and a strong coaching staff, so Darnold is out of excuses. If he can’t succeed this year, then the Panthers will have to start their search for a quarterback all over again.
$100,000,000 Throw 💰
$.10 catch 🗑🗑
I give Sam Darnold crap, but c’mon man lol. pic.twitter.com/Wvcxg9jT55
— IamMontyFetti (@4MR_Monty) July 25, 2021
Could Terrace Marshall Jr. Be A Steal?
The Carolina Panthers have two good receivers in D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson, but not much behind them. After losing Curtis Samuel in free agency, the team needs a third offensive weapon to step up, and that somebody could be LSU’s Terrace Marshall. Marshall fell to the back of the second round, but most NFL Draft analysts thought he would go late in the first round or early in the second.
During his time in college, Marshall excelled all over the formation. The second-round pick has a fantastic catch radius, reliable hands, and great athleticism. However, his overall game is a little raw, so he might not be ready to contribute right out of the gate. He only had seven games as the top option in LSU’s passing attack, so he’ll need to prove that he can handle NFL competition.
It wouldn’t be too much of a surprise if Marshall needs a year or two to adjust to the NFL game. However, if he can live up to his potential, then this passing game has the potential to be one of the NFL’s more dangerous attacks.
Terrace Marshall 📽s rent free in my 🧠pic.twitter.com/GDifXQMQr0
— Derek Brown (@DBro_FFB) July 19, 2021
Can Jeremy Chinn Play Safety?
Carolina’s defense wasn’t very good last year, but they did find a potential building block in Jeremy Chinn. After spending his collegiate tenure at safety, the Southern Illinois product spent his rookie season at linebacker. The position change paid off, as Chinn finished second in Defensive Rookie of the Year voting while proving to be a stout run defender with a nose for the ball.
However, despite the success, head coach Matt Rhule said he’s moving Chinn back to safety due to his smaller frame. While Chinn obviously has experience at the position from his college days, we still don’t know how he’ll handle the job in the NFL. Playing safety requires more coverage responsibilities than linebacker, and that is probably the weakest part of Chinn’s game. While he will definitely spend most of his time in or around the box, he’ll still have to cover tight ends and running backs on certain plays. Only time will tell if he can handle this role, but there’s no better way to improve than by practicing against Christian McCaffrey.
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