Panthers' Rhule not looking into Watson, believes Darnold will be 'great'

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Head coach Matt Rhule dismissed the idea that the Carolina Panthers are doing their due diligence on Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson ahead of the Nov. 2 trade deadline.

"I haven't done any work on anyone else," Rhule said, according to Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News. "I believe that (Sam Darnold) will be a great quarterback for the Carolina Panthers."

The Panthers opened the campaign with three wins but have suffered three consecutive losses since then.

Darnold has recorded 1,573 passing yards for seven touchdowns and seven interceptions this season. He's also added 110 rushing yards and five scores on the ground.

Darnold's completion percentage has gradually declined over the campaign, going from 68% in the season opener to 41% in last week's loss to the Minnesota Vikings.

Carolina acquired Darnold from the New York Jets in April in exchange for three draft picks. The 2018 first-round pick became the unquestioned starter after the Panthers dealt Teddy Bridgewater to the Denver Broncos a few weeks later.

Rhule is placing Darnold's success in Carolina on his own shoulders.

"My biggest thing is making sure that me and (QB coach) Sean Ryan, (offensive coordinator) Joe Brady do a better job of putting Sam in the best position," he said. "He's my focus, and I expect him to play his best football moving forward. I'm not looking anywhere else."

The Panthers will attempt to return to the win column Sunday against the New York Giants.

Watson has been a healthy scratch during the 2021 campaign amid police and NFL investigations. The 26-year-old is facing lawsuits from 22 women who say he sexually assaulted them or committed sexual misconduct during massage sessions. Ten women also filed criminal complaints against Watson.

The three-time Pro Bowler previously indicated his intention to be traded from the Texans this past offseason. Watson holds a no-trade clause in his contract and would have to approve a move.

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Panthers' Rhule not looking into Watson, believes Darnold will be 'great'
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