Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold did his team well enough on Sunday to help capture the 19-14 season-opening win. But did his team, specifically his blockers, do him well enough on the afternoon?
Head coach Matt Rhule doesn’t think that was particularly the case, as he told reporters on Monday afternoon that they must do a better job of protecting Darnold moving forward.
“Sam was under too much duress, too much pressure,” Rhule said of the Week 1 outing. “I thought he was fearless. He stepped up. Pressure in his face. But he was under too much pressure. We have to do a better job, collectively, of protecting the quarterback.”
And according to Rhule, help may be on the way in right guard John Miller. Miller, one of the usual starters on the interior of the offensive line, missed Sunday’s game after being placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
“I’m hopeful,” said Rhule, who was asked if he’d get Miller back ahead of the Week 2 matchup with the New Orleans Saints. “There’s a quarantine period after that. But then after that, Johnny would have to be cleared by the doctors. And then see where his conditioning is at and all those different things.”
Third-year lineman Dennis Daley started in Miller’s place to kick off the campaign this weekend.
Regardless of the help he had or will have, Darnold took a nice first step forward against the New York Jets. He managed relatively well through the pressure, completing 24 of his 35 attempts for 279 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions.
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