Joe Thomas: 'I Think We're Going to See a Much Better Version of Sam Darnold'

NFL Network's Joe Thomas & Willie McGinest love Darnold's fit with the Panthers.
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Many folks around the league felt like the Jets didn't do anything to set Sam Darnold up for success and failed as an organization to give him the surrounding pieces necessary to develop into a legit NFL starting quarterback.

The Panthers made a trade for Darnold back in early April after the Jets made the decision to make him available as they were planning to take a quarterback (Zach Wilson) in the draft.

Tuesday afternoon, NFL Network's Joe Thomas and Willie McGinest discussed their thoughts on the new Carolina Panthers quarterback and how he will fit in with the organization.

Joe Thomas

"I think we're going to see a much better version of Sam Darnold and I think we're going to see the player we all thought he could be when he was coming out of USC. Look, he's got one of the best running backs in the game in Christian McCaffrey. He can catch the football, he can run the football. He's got DJ Moore, Robby Anderson at receiver, guys that he can trust to throw the football to. But more than anything, he's got a great offensive coordinator with a great mind in Joe Brady. What Joe Brady was really famous for at LSU was spreading people out, giving quarterbacks the ability to make quick decisions based on what they're seeing from the defense, and making the answers easy to come to. That's important for a young quarterback who sometimes has a hard time processing at real live speeds like an NFL quarterback needs to. So, I think the combination of the boots and the play actions, and the run actions that Joe Brady is going to have with the ability to spread out their offense and to be able to get those playmakers in space and give Sam Darnold some of those quick, easy answers that he needs, we're going to see a really good Sam Darnold and I think they've got an opportunity to be a lot better than they were last year."

Willie McGinest 

"There was no consistency in New York and when you look across the board as far as coordinators, coaches, offensive linemen, there was no consistency for him to get on the same page with. So, that makes it tough for any player, especially at the quarterback position to play at a high level and be consistent. Now, like you mentioned, he has balance on both sides of the ball. The defense, they'll have a top 10 defense. They'll be really good. There's a lot of No. 1 picks - five of them I think and high draft choices on that side of the ball and on offense he has weapons. The key for me and you said it, is Joe Brady. Joe Brady will know how to utilize his skillset. Sam Darnold is an athletic, big, strong quarterback that can move the pocket. What makes it difficult for a defense is a moving pocket, a guy that's accurate, play action, boot throwbacks, everything off that run action because you do have to respect Christian McCaffrey in the running game and it opens up things down the field. So now, it opens up the playbook to do a lot more and it will make Sam Darnold a little more cautious. Remember, when you're in a bad offense with not a lot of weapons around you, you try to force things. You take chances, you throw the ball in tight windows, you struggle to make plays. He won't have to do that in this offense. He's got weapons, he's got a lot of help. So, he can play within himself, he doesn't have to be the entire offense, he can play within the offense and not make so many mistakes and give the ball up.

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