What They’re Saying: Sam Darnold a breakout candidate

Breaking it down: As Frelund and others have pointed out over the last few months, Darnold’s situation and surrounding cast is vastly different in Carolina than it was with the Jets. He’ll have one of the NFL’s two WR pairs to top 1,000 receiving yards in 2020 ( DJ Moore , Robby Anderson ), the return of the NFL’s scrimmage yards leader in 2019 ( Christian McCaffrey ) along with the aforementioned new weapons acquired this offseason.

That’s a far cry from a Jets’ offense that had just one player (Le’Veon Bell, 2019) reach 1,000 scrimmage yards in Darnold’s three years.

Frelund speaks to the “video game” nature of Joe Brady’s LSU offense in 2019 and believes Panthers fans could see a lot of fireworks with Darnold at the helm this year.

The verdict: Last year’s 72.7 passer rating and 9-to-11 TD-interception ratio aren’t stats the Panthers or Darnold are hiding from or ignoring. Significant year-over-year improvement will be required for him to have the kind of season Frelund predicts.

During OTAs and minicamp, the Panthers’ staff worked extensively on Darnold’s footwork, his comfort with teammates and his knowledge of the playbook. When Carolina heads to training camp this month, it’ll mark the next step in applying more physical and mental pressure to see how he responds.

With joint practices and live games coming in August, we’ll see soon enough how much difference the change from green to blue will…

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