The Carolina Panthers are three days away from a critical Week 9 home game against the New England Patriots, and they don’t yet know who will lining up under center.
Per Mattthew Fairburn of The Athletic, Panthers head coach was “not sure” of starting quarterback Sam Darnold‘s status for Sunday’s game as of Thursday morning.
With his team at 4-4 and in third place in the NFC North, Darnold is currently in the concussion protocol, and according to the team’s injury report, he was a limited participant in Wednesday’s practice. The former New York Jets signal-caller is also battling a shoulder injury, which he suffered along with the concussion, on a hit from Atlanta Falcons linebacker Foye Oluokun during Carolina’s 19-13 win in Week 8.
After being selected third overall by the Jets in the 2018 NFL Draft, Darnold went 13-25 over three seasons with New York, compiling 8,097 passing yards and 45 touchdowns against 39 interceptions. The 24-year-old posted a 59.8% completion percentage and just a 78.6 quarterback rating in his Jets career.
Darnold was traded to the Panthers in the 2021 offseason, and through the first four contests with his new club, was looking like a new man. Carolina started off 3-0 with wins over the Jets, New Orleans Saints and Houston Texans, with Darnold finishing with a quarterback rating of over 95 in each contest.
Even in the team’s Week 4 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, Darnold completed two-thirds of his passes for 301 yards and two touchdowns — while adding two scores on the ground — but he also threw his second and third interceptions of the year. Since Week 5, the team has gone 1-3 — all without All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey — with the quarterback throwing for two touchdowns against five interceptions.
Victor Barbosa is a passionate follower of MLB, the NBA and NFL, with a specific interest in the Boston-area teams. As a 90s kid, he knows how spoiled he’s been, particularly with the BoSox run of championships (he grew up with a dog named Nomar and a cat named Big Papi). Now he lives with his fiancee and two pups (Hershey and Mosby) outside of Albany, NY. Follow Victor on Twitter at @vbarbosa1127.