USC legend Sam Darnold reveals how he feels about the Panthers pursuing other QBs

Sam Darnold, USC Football, USC Trojans
Sam Darnold, USC Football, USC Trojans / Ron Jenkins/GettyImages

Former USC Football QB Sam Darnold recently expressed how he truly feels about his NFL team, the Carolina Panthers, scouting QBs in the 2022 NFL Draft. His comments were made on the "Bussin' with the Boys" podcast hosted by Tennessee Titans offensive tackle Taylor Lewan and current free agent linebacker Will Compton:

"It's truly whatever happens happens, because at the end of the day it's out of my control, and I know that," said Darnold. "I have enough security in myself where I can say, 'I know I'm a good quarterback. I know I can be a good quarterback in this league. I've proved it.'"

This is a perfect way to see it for Darnold, who is under contract for this next year after the Panthers picked up his fifth year option for close to $19 million last offseason. Darnold's first year in Carolina had its ups and downs. He went off to a racing start, where he began the year 3-0 and averaged 296 passing yards per game to go along with three touchdowns and just one pick, as he competed 68.2% of his passes. He also ran for three touchdowns.

He had a great game the next week too, completing 66.7% of his tosses for 301 yards, two passing touchdowns, two rushing touchdowns, and 35 rushing yards on just six carries. Eventually, however, Christian McCaffrey's week 3 injury wreaked havoc on the Panthers offensive game plan.

Former USC QB Sam Darnold didn't get a fair shot to prove himself last season with the Panthers.

Once that McCaffrey injury happened, things went south for Sam Darnold's coaching staff. Matt Rhule was quickly exposed, and Offensive Coordinator Joe Brady was as well. He ended up actually even having to be fired during the year because of the poor job he was doing. The offensive line was also quickly exposed as one of the worst in the game if not THE worst in the game.

It got Darnold beat up to the point where he got injured. The team tried bringing in a new QB in 2015 NFL MVP Cam Newton, but the Newton experiment proved that Darnold wasn't the problem. Here's a look at Darnold's numbers (on the left) vs. Newton's numbers from 2021 (on the right):

4-7 W-L record//////////0-5 W-L record

59.9 completion percentage//////////54.8 completion percentage

6.2 yards per pass attempt//////////5.4 yards per pass attempt

5.2 adjusted yards per pass attempt//////////4.3 adjusted yards per pass attempt

10.4 yards per completion//////////9.9 yards per completion

3.2 INT percentage//////////4 INT percentage

After all, Panthers GM Scott Fitterer did say that Darnold was "in the lead for the job" after he checked out 2022 NFL Draft QB prospects Malik Willis, Kenny Pickett, and Matt Corral.

"At the end of the day somebody has got to answer for it," said Darnold. "Whoever it is. The GM. The coach. If something happens like that, we'll see what they have to say, and that's about it."

Darnold is correctly focusing on what he can control, like learning his new Offensive Coordinator's playbook:

"At the end of the day, it's not my call," said Darnold. "If they don't think I'm the guy, it is what it is...I'm just trying to learn Coach McAdoo's system...That's where it's at."

After all, the majority of NFL Draft experts had him as the best option of the entire 2018 NFL Draft. Reports surfaced in the 2020 season as well as the offseason after that many GMs in the league, and not just Fitterer, wanted him on their squad. It even got to the point where NFL Insider Benjamin Allbright dropped this fascinating nugget on how the NFL saw Darnold even in 2020, which was his worst year as a pro:

Darnold may know a bit about the interest himself. When discussing the possibility of Carolina giving up on him, he had this to say:

dark. Next. USC Football Spring Ball Depth Chart

"And I know there's a team, if something happens, that would want me."