If ever there was a perfect time to deploy this Thanos clip from Avengers: Endgame, it'd be now, upon learning the Carolina Panthers have gotten into such dire straits at quarterback that they're pivoting back to Sam Darnold.
Indeed, Carolina could not live with its own failure, or even give Darnold a proper chacne to develop. Adam Gase basically ruined the start of Darnold's career in New York/New Jersey. The Panthers thought they could fix him and believed he was worth trading second- and fourth-round picks for. Other than a 3-0 start to 2021, Darnold did little to reward Carolina's faith, battling injuries and poor play the rest of the way.
Colin Cowherd's villain arc just added another juicy layer to it. Doesn't matter how much of a bust Darnold looked like during his entire time with the Jets and the crazy highs Baker Mayfield lifted the Browns to following their 1-31 two-season stretch. Cowherd has been a Baker hater and Darnold defender. He can now lord this shit over everyone. I respect sticking to such an ill-fated take, even if the payoff is pathetic.
What's even funnier about this news is that interim coach Steve Wilks was gonna play coy about naming a starter for the time being.
Perhaps Wilks was gunning for any modicum of strategic advantage he could muster for Week 12's home matchup with the Broncos. Then, he probably watched Baker's game film from this weekend's 13-3 loss to Baltimore and figured, "Fuck it. We're doomed no matter who it is."
As for Baker, at least in terms of being a starter, his career is pretty much over. Darnold is playing for whatever remains of his. Truth is, Panthers offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo is a garbage play-caller whose antiquated, garbage schematics and overly complex underlying foundation to his system make for a fucking disaster cocktail on Sundays.
While I wouldn't be surprised to see Darnold play better than Baker or PJ Walker have — because, let's face it, the bar is that fucking low — it's unlikely the former No. 3 overall pick will add any spark whatsoever to the proceedings. This Panthers offense is a sorry sack of shit, and strangely enough, it hasn't been their offensive line or skill players who've been the total liabilities. It's McAdoo and Carolina's pathetic excuse for a quarterback room.
I'm not in the business of making excuses for Matt Rhule, but hey, he and Phil Snow did build a hell of a defense in Charlotte. They just couldn't get the QB right. At least part of that blame, if not most of it, falls on the front office. You can see how much turnover there's been at the position in just under three seasons. Impossible to build a sustainable NFL winner that way.
I also blame Rhule for hiring Joe Brady and McAdoo as his OCs. Brady got fired during last season when it became clear he rode on the coattails of a very brief stint under Sean Payton in New Orleans and literally the greatest college football team ever, the Joe Burrow-led LSU Tigers. Or at least that's my working theory, considering Brady is now the QB coach in Buffalo and Josh Allen seems to be regressing. We've covered McAdoo enough. Time to end this damn thing. Ben McAdoo isn't worth a sign-off stinger. Oops. I just kinda gave him one.
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