Panthers coach Matt Rhule: Sam Darnold ‘not playing well enough’

The Carolina Panthers lost to the Minnesota Vikings in overtime Sunday to drop to 3-3 on the season, and quarterback Sam Darnold had another day to forget without star running back Christian McCaffrey, who missed his third straight game with a hamstring injury. Darnold completed 17-of-41 passes for 207 yards with a touchdown and an interception against the Vikings, and he currently sits 23rd in the NFL with a 47.1 total QBR, per ESPN stats.

According to Kevin Patra of the league’s website, Carolina coach Matt Rhule addressed his signal-caller while speaking with reporters Monday. 

“Sam’s not playing well enough — let’s just start there — which means that Sean (Ryan), Joe (Brady) and me are not coaching good enough,” Rhule said about the club’s offense. “We’re 3-3. There are a lot of teams that are 3-3. I think it’s just starkly clear in front of us what the issues are. We turned the ball over twice in our three wins. We turned the ball over eight times in our three losses. Now when I say, ‘Sam’s not playing well,’ what does that mean? That means the offensive line isn’t getting it done for him, it means the running backs aren’t getting it done for him. Everyone on offense, every receiver, every tight end, every back, every O-lineman, their job is to help our quarterback play well. We are not getting that done.” 

The Panthers have former XFL star P.J. Walker behind Darnold on the depth chart, but Jonathan M. Alexander of the Charlotte Observer noted after Sunday’s result that Rhule going to Walker “is not a realistic option for the future.” 

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