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With Darnold, Panthers fling another dart at the franchise QB dart board

Team takes another shot at landing "the guy"

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Sam Darnold is another dart being thrown at the franchise quarterback dartboard by the Panthers.

Teddy Bridgewater -- that dart was clearly off the mark.

So now Matt Rhule, along with new GM Scott Fitterer and owner David Tepper,  take aim for a second time. 

And I don't think it'll be the last.

I'm reminded of what Seattle Times beat writer Bob Condotta told me about Fitterer's time with the Seahawks front office.

"You don't have enough quarterbacks until you have *the* quarterback," said Condotta of Seattle's approach to the position.

Now I don't doubt that the Panthers think Sam Darnold is at least the quarterback they want to replace Teddy Bridgewater.

But I certainly don't think the team is dialed in on Darnold as a franchise quarterback yet.

And with these numbers -- how could they be?

In three years he threw 45 touchdown passes to 39 interceptions and had a QB Rating of just 78.6.

Not to mention a completion rate below 60%.

Now back to Fitterer's Seattle days.

In 2012 they signed Matt Flynn to a multi year deal with lots of guaranteed money.

But it was their third-round pick who started every game that year – and he's started every game since. 

That's Russell Wilson.

The window to win the Super Bowl doesn't open up until you've got that guy.

So an aggressive approach is in order.

I said I thought the Panthers were out of the rookie QB race in the first round.

But if Justin Fields falls to No. 8? I'd take him.

Current backup QBs P.J. Walker and Will Grier? 

Great stories, but I'd still re-do the room with mid-round picks and perhaps a flier on a younger veteran looking for a shot.

Sam Darnold is the guy right now. But the darts have got to keep flying until you hit the target.

And by the way Panthers  – you only get three tries per turn in darts. 

We'll see if Darnold is the one that lands in the bullseye.

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