Rhule urges Darnold to end slump: 'He needs to play better'

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Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule encouraged Sam Darnold to step up a day after benching the quarterback during a lifeless loss to the New York Giants.

"I think I made the right decision yesterday, to be quite honest with you," Rhule said Monday. "(Darnold's performance) wasn't good enough. When you're the quarterback, it has to be good enough, and it wasn't good enough."

The Panthers pulled Darnold in the fourth quarter while trailing 15-3, summoning P.J. Walker to finish the contest. Darnold went 16-for-25 for 111 yards and an interception against a Giants defense that had previously been struggling.

Darnold, 24, has thrown for 796 yards with four touchdowns and seven interceptions over his last four games, owning a 56.3% completion rate and 61.2 passer rating over that span. Carolina has lost all four of those contests, souring its 3-0 start.

While Rhule confirmed Darnold will start again versus the Atlanta Falcons in Week 8, he hinted his patience with the 2018 No. 3 pick is diminishing.

"He needs to have a great week, and he needs to play better," Rhule said. "I'm sure he'll be the first to say that to you. I'm sure he didn't like yesterday. Hopefully, it makes him stronger and a better quarterback."

The Panthers acquired Darnold from the New York Jets in the offseason for second- and fourth-round picks in the 2022 draft.

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Rhule urges Darnold to end slump: 'He needs to play better'
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