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Former Jet Reveals How Panthers Can Salvage Sam Darnold

David Kaestle
Ryan Kalil knows why Sam Darnold struggled in New York.
Ryan Kalil knows why Sam Darnold struggled in New York. / Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
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After an unsuccessful three seasons with the New York Jets, a lot of people and teams around the NFL still think Sam Darnold has the talent to salvage his career in the right situation.

With his recent trade to the Carolina Panthers, it could be the perfect place for Darnold to do just that. One of his former teammates thinks he knows how. Or at least knows what went wrong in New York.

Former Jets offensive lineman Ryan Kalil spent 2019 with the Jets and was part of the offensive line protecting Sam Darnold. So he knows first hand how things went down with Gang Green.

Kalil points to the Jets' inability to let Darnold evolve and make his own decisions. And he puts the brunt of that blame on head coach Adam Gase and his system, which limited players' freedom.

"A lot of the scheme was pre-determined based on what they thought they were seeing from the sideline. It didn’t give Sam a lot of room to grow, in my opinion, to make decisions on the fly. It worked in some instances, but it handicapped him in the long run. It wasn’t a system that allowed him to evolve and make decisions on his own. I think that was the hardest thing. And I think that’s why ultimately the Jets made some [coaching] changes, too."

Ryan Kalil, The Athletic

Of course, hindsight is 20-20, but Kalil certainly didn't paint a picture of an environment conducive to success. Whether that will be different in Carolina or not remains to be seen, but with far more talent around him on offense than he ever had with the Jets, Darnold should at least be given a puncher's chance at turning things around in 2021.


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David Kaestle is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, David also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username davekaestle. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.

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