‘He’s Definitely a Leader’- Christian McCaffrey Talks About Panthers’ New QB Sam Darnold

Published 05/25/2021, 8:00 AM EDT
Dec 20, 2020; Inglewood, California, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) looks to pass against the Los Angeles Rams during the first half at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports


The Carolina Panthers are looking at starting off afresh. With a new quarterback in Sam Darnold, the franchise will hope the former Jets QB is the final piece in the puzzle to unlock their versatile offense. 

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With a star running back like Christian McCaffrey in their ranks, one can only imagine the sort of damage Darnold and McCaffrey can do to opposition defenses.

McCaffrey missed out on the majority of the 2020 season due to injury. First, a high-ankle sprain in Week 2 kept him on injured reserve. Returned in Week 9, he once again had to sit out after injuring his shoulder.

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Edging close to a return in Week 14, McCaffrey injured his quad which ultimately saw him sit out the rest of the season. Now back to the training field, McCaffrey looks forward to getting to work with Darnold.  

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Sam Darnold possesses the right intangibles 

Speaking to the Panthers website, McCaffrey talked about the relationship he’s built with his new QB. 

“I’ve gotten to know him really well in the last few months,” McCaffrey said. “Just getting together throwing with him and hanging out off the field. He’s an incredible talent and an incredible teammate already, so I’m super excited for him. 

With new players needing time to fit in, McCaffrey feels Sam Darnold is acclimatizing well to his new surroundings. “I think he’ll fit in great. Already fits in great,” he said.

Talking about the intangibles that the QB possesses, McCaffrey said that Darnold is the sort of leader every team needs.

Former New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) looks to pass the ball. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

“He’s very laid back, but he’s definitely a leader too,” McCaffrey said. “And he knows when to put his foot down when he needs to and be a leader when he needs to. I think that’s something that makes all quarterbacks great,” he added.

McCaffrey who earned his first All-Pro selection in 2019 talked about the importance of a QB and how Darnold will play a key role in rallying the side to achieve their goals. 

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“Just demanding attention to detail. Demanding a sharp practice and demanding a sense of urgency and that all starts with every individual. But the quarterback touches the ball every play. And so if he shows it, then everybody else will rally behind it.”

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The Panthers are set to take on the New York Jets in their opening tie of the 2021 season. Hosting his former side at home, a win over the Jets will provide Darnold with a world of confidence going forward.  

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Shivayan Roy

725 articles

Shivayan Roy is currently an NFL writer at EssentiallySports. After completing his Masters Diploma in Journalism from the Asian College of Journalism, Roy functioned as a reporter for Goal.com and extensively covered the FIFA U-17 World Cup.

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