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Summary from the Final Week of Camp
With training camp coming to a close, Sam Darnold has Carolina fans and coaches pleased with their new quarterback. Darnold played well, and his arm strength brings an element to the offense that they did not have in 2020. Offensive coordinator Joe Brady said of Darnold, “I think right now he (Sam Darnold) is making great decisions. He’s comfortable in the system and taking what the defense is giving him, so that’s what excites me. Right now, we are still in the evaluation process. It’s not the stats that matter in a preseason game. There’s a rhyme and reason for what you’re doing, so for him, it’s about playing in the system and making the routing plays routinely.” Darnold played the first half of the final preseason game. Head coach Matt Rhule said they would be running a basic playbook focusing on getting Darnold into a rhythm. Darnold responded by going 19-for-25 for 162 yards and two touchdowns. Coming into the week, it appeared that Will Grier was in the lead for the QB2 role, but Grier played the 4th quarter with the 3rd string, while P.J. Walker played with the backups. Neither did much in the passing game, but Grier did run for 22 yards and a touchdown.
While Christian McCaffrey has been able to practice fully and looks ready to play, the coaching staff has opted to keep him out of game situations. They know what they have with him and do not want to risk injury unnecessarily. Resting McCaffrey and injuries to the other veteran running backs on the roster opened the door for rookie Chuba Hubbard. Hubbard carried the ball more than any other Panthers back this preseason and averaged over five yards-per-carry and almost eight yards per catch. He’s not going to put Christian McCaffrey out of a job or even steal many snaps, but if McCaffrey were to miss time again, Hubbard looks like he can handle the workload.
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