Ben McAdoo will be Sam Darnold’s fourth different offensive coordinator
Ben McAdoo giveth and Ben McAdoo taketh away.
In one of his first public appearances as the Carolina Panthers’ offensive coordinator, McAdoo appeared to name former New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold as his starter for the 2022 season before almost instantly retracting himself.
Darnold, the Jets’ first-round pick from the 2018 draft (third overall), is set to enter his second season in Charlotte after Gang Green sent him south in exchange for three draft picks, the most prominent becoming the 38th overall choice in the coming selections.
“Sam is our starting quarterback, yes,” McAdoo said in a conference video shared by the Panthers. The former New York Giants boss, however, appears to rescind the statement shortly after. CBS’ official NFL account uses a comical timecard from the animated series “SpongeBob SquarePants” to imply it took McAdoo only 97 seconds to change his mind.
“One of the things I’ve been working on is being better talking to (the media),” McAdoo, whose new duties in Carolina are his most prominent since a 29-game stint as the offensive coordinator and head coach of the Jets’ MetLife Stadium co-tenants. “So, announcing the starting quarterback here, I just put my foot in my mouth. That wasn’t something I should have said.”
"Sam is our starting quarterback, yes." – Panthers OC Ben McAdoo
"That wasn't something I should have said." – Panthers OC Ben McAdoo a short while later pic.twitter.com/hpLTFBxuKR
— NFL on CBS 🏈 (@NFLonCBS) April 19, 2022
Darnold and P.J. Walker are currently the only Carolina quarterbacks under contract as draft day looms. Currently stationed in the sixth slot of the opening round on April 28, the Panthers have been linked to some of the draft’s most prominent passing names, including Matt Corral, Kenny Pickett, and Malik Willis.
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Darnold struggled in 2021 as the Panthers hoped he would become the long-term franchise quarterback successor to Cam Newton, posting a career-worst 71.9 passer rating over 11 starts. His struggles led to the midseason firing of previous offensive boss Joe Brady, who has since accepted the Buffalo Bills’ quarterbacks coach position.
McAdoo is poised to be Darnold’s fourth different offensive coordinator as he enters his fifth NFL season, following Brady and the metropolitan representatives Jeremy Bates and Dowell Loggains.
McAdoo, who has spent his post-New York career in offensive assistant roles in Jacksonville and Dallas, claimed to see some potential sorcery in the Southern California native despite his apparent reluctance to ink his name at the top of the Panthers’ depth chart. Darnold’s prescience, in fact, partly drew McAdoo to the opportunity Carolina had to offer.
“Sam was one of the people that intrigued me to the job, to be honest with you. I think Sam does have some magic in his game. I think he’s got some athleticism to him,” McAdoo said. “I’m excited to work with Sam, and we’ve been working the last few days here to kinda get up to speed on the offense. And he’s shown flashes of being a good player in this league…Working together, hopefully, we can get that to show up more consistently.”
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags