Panthers OC Ben McAdoo Backtracks After Saying Sam Darnold Is Team's Starting QB

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIApril 19, 2022

AP Photo/Jason Behnken

Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo told reporters Tuesday that Sam Darnold is the team's starting quarterback, but he admitted shortly thereafter that wasn't something he should have said.


"Sam is our starting quarterback, yes." - Panthers OC Ben McAdoo<br><br>"That wasn't something I should have said." - Panthers OC Ben McAdoo a short while later <a href="https://t.co/hpLTFBxuKR">pic.twitter.com/hpLTFBxuKR</a>

Darnold is entering his fifth NFL season and his second in Carolina. He completed 59.9 percent of his passes for 2,527 yards (6.2 per attempt) with nine touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 2021.

It was not a good year for Darnold, who tied for 31st among 33 qualifiers in quarterback rating and was 31st in QBR, per Pro Football Reference. A fractured scapula also forced him to miss five weeks.

It was also a disastrous year for Carolina, which started 3-0 but went 2-12 in its last 14 games to finish 5-12. Running back Christian McCaffrey, who led the NFL in yards from scrimmage in 2019, missed 10 games because of an ankle injury.

Numerous coaching changes have taken place in response to the Panthers' performance.

Joe Brady, the Panthers' ex-OC, was let go in December. McAdoo, who was once the New York Giants' offensive coordinator (2014-15) before being promoted to head coach (2016-17), took his place this offseason.

It's his job to overhaul an offense that finished 29th in scoring last year. McAdoo believes there are pieces in place to get the job done in Charlotte, though, and he thinks Darnold can turn it around.

David Newton @DNewtonespn

Panthers coach Ben McAdoo on quarterback Sam Darnold, whom he liked coming out of the draft in 2018: “Sam was one of the people that intrigued me for the job. Sam does have some magic in his game.’’

Joe Person @josephperson

Asked if Panthers' offense is a rebuild situation, Ben McAdoo says: "It's not a tear-down by any stretch of the imagination."<br>Adds: "I didn't come here to lose."

David Newton @DNewtonespn

Ben McAdoo says he sees an "avenue to win'' at Carolina now. It's one of the many reasons he took the job as OC.

Darnold is currently the top option on the Panthers' depth chart, which only has one other quarterback in P.J. Walker. The former XFL star completed 54.5 percent of his passes for 362 yards (5.5 per attempt) with one touchdown and three interceptions in five games (one start) last year.

Carolina also has an interesting choice to make at No. 6 overall when the 2022 NFL draft begins April 28 in Las Vegas. The team could take a quarterback and give that player the keys to the franchise, or it can try to build around Darnold and perhaps add an offensive tackle.

The Panthers, who don't have another pick until No. 137, could also look to trade down to acquire more draft capital.

Ultimately, there's a lot of uncertainty in Carolina as the team looks for its first playoff appearance since 2017.


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