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Robbie Anderson: Jets 'Messed Up' Sam Darnold's Development, Rushed Him to Start

Erin WalshJuly 9, 2022

Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

Carolina Panthers wide receiver Robbie Anderson is doubling down on his loyalty to quarterback Sam Darnold.

During an appearance on the I Am Athlete podcast, Anderson blamed Darnold's career struggles on the New York Jets, who selected him third overall in the 2018 NFL draft, and noted he still believes the veteran can get back on the right path.

"I will say this with Sam, though. I feel like his development was all messed up coming into the league," Anderson said, via Jason Owens of Yahoo Sports. "Look at Pat [Mahomes] and look at Lamar [Jackson]. They didn't play right away. I don't think that Sam should have played right away.

"I feel like his career got jump-started the wrong way. I feel like—being in the building, the coaches—I was there. In his defense, I don't think he was developed 100 percent correctly."

Before the Panthers acquired Baker Mayfield in a trade with the Cleveland Browns on Wednesday, Anderson voiced support for Darnold by commenting "Nooooo" on an Instagram post that suggested Mayfield might land in Carolina.

At the time, it seemed like a slight toward Mayfield, but Anderson said on the I Am Athlete podcast that it "was in defense" of Darnold.

"I feel like at the end of the day, me and Sam do have chemistry. But it's like—I gotta start all over again," Anderson said. "It wasn't no disrespect to him. It was really in defense of who my quarterback is right now."

Anderson has played with Darnold as his quarterback for three seasons. The two played for the Jets in 2018 and 2019 before Anderson joined the Panthers in 2020. Darnold joined him a year later in 2021.

If the Jets did mess up Darnold's development, Anderson would have had a front-row view. Darnold appeared in 12 games for the Panthers last season and went 4-7, showing little signs of improvement.

The 25-year-old completed 59.9 percent of his passes for 2,527 yards and nine touchdowns against 13 interceptions.

It's unclear whether Darnold or Mayfield will start at quarterback for the Panthers in 2022, but it appears that Anderson hopes his longtime signal-caller continues to serve as the team's starter.

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