Carolina Panthers may be ‘NFC contenders,’ says former NFL quarterback Chris Simms

Chris Simms on Pro Football Talk: “The Panthers are for real … they have a lot of talented young guys. I think they will be around for years to come”; Watch Thursday Night Football – Carolina Panthers @ Houston Texans – Live on Sky Sports NFL from 1.20 am, Friday

Former NFL quarterback Chris Simms has said the Carolina Panthers will be a contender for the postseason in the NFC ahead of their Thursday night meeting with the Houston Texans.

Sam Darnold has raced out to a 2-0 start with Carolina after his offseason move from the New York Jets
Sam Darnold has raced out to a 2-0 start with Carolina after his offseason move from the New York Jets

The Panthers haven’t made the playoffs in four of the past five seasons and haven’t won a postseason game since reaching Super Bowl 50 in the 2015 season.

But, with second-year head coach Matt Rhule, and star running back Christian McCaffrey back from injury, a new quarterback for 2021 in the former New York Jet, Sam Darnold, and a talented young defender. , the Panthers have raced to a 2-0 start to the season after practical wins over the Jets (19-14) and the New Orleans Saints (26-7).

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“This is a great opportunity for everyone to meet Carolina, a promising team in the NFL,” Simms said on Pro Football Talk (weekdays, 7 pm, Sky Sports NFL) before Carolina’s trip to Houston on Thursday.

“The Panthers are for real. I have loved this team all preseason; they have a lot of young and talented guys. I think they will be around for years to come.

“Particularly on defense, when you look at his seven forwards, he’s a top 15 pick in the draft, a top 10 pick in just about every area. They have a lot of talent and a creative scheme to go along with it.

“They physically yelled at the Saints [in week two]. They weren’t afraid of cramming the line of scrimmage, they stopped the Saints’ running game completely and you could tell they had a good idea of ​​what they wanted to do in the passing game. .

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“The Saints were never able to get going. They were so completely dominated.

“And Carolina, on the offensive side of the ball, they can crush you with McCaffrey, and then they can execute game action passes from those same formations.

“He couldn’t be more unlucky. And it hurts his football team, as Taylor’s ability to make plays is one of the best things they had.

“Mills did some good things towards the end of the [Browns] game, but when he first came in, it was a problem. He threw a bad interception.

Former Stanford quarterback Davis Mills will make his first NFL start for the Texans on Thursday night
Former Stanford quarterback Davis Mills will make his first NFL start for the Texans on Thursday night

“In the pre-draft process, there was nothing to say that this guy has a laser for an arm or he’s an amazing athlete. But what he does have is polish. He knows how to play the position.

“The Texans have a pretty good offensive line, they’ll protect it, and when you go through the team’s players, there might not be superstars there, but there’s Mark Ingram and Phillip Lindsay as running back, Brandin Cooks and Chris Conley as wide receiver, Andre Roberts. too.

“There is a lot to like there. I give them the opportunity to fight; they are going to make you win the victory, but I feel like they are playing against a team that is more talented than in Carolina.”

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