Panthers plan to start Sam Darnold in Week 18

Panthers plan to start Sam Darnold in Week 18

Sam Darnold was back as the Panthers’ starting quarterback for their loss to the Saints on Sunday and it looks like he’ll get to run the offense again in Week 18 against the Buccaneers.

Panthers head coach Matt Rhule told reporters at a Monday press conference that he plans to give Darnold another start in the final game of the regular season. Rhule said that Cam Newton, who ran once for five yards against New Orleans, will also be available.

Darnold was 17-of-26 for 132 yards and an interception in the 18-10 loss. He also lost a fumble on one of the seven sacks that the Panthers allowed during the loss. The start was his 10th of the season and his first since hurting his shoulder in a Week Nine loss to the Patriots.

Assuming the plan remains in place all week, the question in Carolina will be if the game against the Bucs is the last one that Darnold starts for the team. He has a guaranteed contract for over $18 million next season, but his mediocre play since arriving in a trade with the Jets has done little to create confidence that he’s a long-term answer at the team’s most important position.