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Rich Gannon, a former quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings, provided the precise recipe that Sam Darnold needs to surprise everyone in the NFL this year. Gannon is a model for the career transition that Darnold could go through this season.

Gannon was a mediocre starter for his entire career before emerging as a consistent Pro Bowl player, winning league MVP, and appearing in the Super Bowl in 2002. He was selected by the Vikings in the fourth round in 1987.

Thinking back on his first season with the Chiefs, Gannon shared a difficult lesson that he felt Darnold’s coaches should teach him in order to turn his career around.

In an interview with Matthew Coller of Purple Insider on June 24, Gannon stated, “That was my comment to [former Carolina Panthers coach] Matt Rhule, I said, ‘if he doesn’t understand and can’t figure out the importance of ball security then he’s never going to survive in this league.” “It doesn’t matter who the play caller is, who he is playing with, or anything else.”

Former Vikings QB Rich Gannon Offers Difficult Advice Rich Gannon Will Need to Be Accepted by Sam Darnold
Getty Rich Gannon, a former quarterback for the Raiders.

Gannon was a boom-or-bust player in Minnesota, throwing for 40 touchdowns and 30 interceptions in his three seasons as a starter.

He received harsh criticism that his play needed to be revised as soon as he got to Kansas City. His first priority was to protect the ball, then make plays.

“I go 7 for 8, with excellent choices, deft footwork, eagerness, and timing, and it’s finished, finished, finished.” On a simple route, I throw one route to a tight end, and it hits him square in the hands, goes up in the air, and gets picked up by the safety,” Gannon said to Coller.

With the exception of the tipped ball interception, everything went perfectly. As I approach the sidelines, Marty Schottenheimer, the head coach of the Chiefs, approaches me. He’s going to say something like, “Dude, that’s awesome, you were throwing the s*** out of the ball,” in my opinion. With a straight face and not even a bulls******* voice, he approaches me. “If you turn the ball over, you won’t be able to play here in Kansas City,” he says. He stated that you won’t play, not that you won’t start. “We don’t do that, and we won’t put up with that.” I thought to myself, “Are you fricking kidding me?” However, it didn’t matter to him who was at fault.

Coller wrote that when it came to defending the football, Schottenheimer’s Chiefs were prolific. Marty’s Chiefs never finished outside the top 10 in the NFL in terms of giveaways from 1990 to 1997, and they finished in the top two six times. Of those eight seasons, seven saw them make the playoffs.

As one of a rotating group of starting quarterbacks, Gannon went 11–8 with 23 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in his four years in Kansas City. Under Schottenheimer, he reduced his interception percentage in half, from 3.6% to 1.7%, and increased his sack rate from 7.5% to 6.4%.

Gannon had the opportunity to be the starting quarterback for the Oakland Raiders, a team that relied heavily on accurate, short passes to playmakers. As a result, he changed the course of his career. A 45-29 record, four consecutive Pro Bowls, an MVP, a trip to the Super Bowl, and a standing as a quarterback who needed 11 seasons to develop into a great player.

Rich Gannon Has faith in Sam Darnold
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Sam Darnold. Photo by Getty.

While it took Gannon 11 years to establish himself as a franchise-caliber quarterback in the NFL, he believes Darnold has the potential to do the same.

“All things considered, I think Sam Darnold is a really gifted player. He can make all the throws, has excellent footwork, a powerful arm, and is extremely athletic, according to Gannon. He’s a young man. His age is twenty-six. That he is 26 years old and has played in the league for six years is absurd.

Gannon claimed to have discussed Darnold’s potential with Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell. Beat reporters were impressed by Darnold’s throwing ability during spring workouts.

The next step for Darnold will be to learn about the defense’s exploits, protections, and game situation. O’Connell, the quarterback-friendly coach, and his best offensive line should aid him in this process.

“That’s my mindset: if I get that opportunity and we start the season and we do well, then I ain’t coming out,” Gannon declared. “This is going to be my chance if we’re 7-2; they don’t have to play JJ. It’s all you want if you’re Sam. An opportunity to demonstrate to people that I’ve changed as a player and that I’ve grown into a reliable quarterback. dependable, steady, and unwavering. Do I go out and give my team a chance to win every week? Do we still have a chance to win with three minutes remaining, or did I make a stupid mistake early in the game and turn the ball over, putting us behind?


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