In a radio interview with KNBR on Thursday, head coach Kyle Shanahan said he would be excited for Darnold to get an opportunity if it comes.
"I mean, Sam has done a lot of good things since he’s been here,” Shanahan said, via David Bonilla of 49erswebzone.com. “He looks great on the practice field. Got to play with him in a couple of preseason games.
"But when you go into an NFL game with someone for the first time, there's always some newness to both of us. Just feeling it out, feeling with the team. But Sam's played a lot of football, and when he gets out here, he's got such command, got a ton of confidence.”
Shanahan added that those in the building “believe in [Darnold] a ton.”
“They're amazed with how good he is throwing the football and stuff, some of the throws he makes on scout team, what he did throughout training camp,” Shanahan said. “And if his opportunity with us for the first time is this Sunday, he'll be ready to go, and our guys will be excited to follow him."
The No. 3 pick of the 2018 draft, Darnold has plenty of experience to lean on if he has to play on Sunday. In 60 appearances with 55 starts, he's completed 59.7 percent of his passes for 11,768 yards with 61 touchdowns and 55 interceptions with 13 lost fumbles.
The Panthers went 4-2 in Darnold's six starts last year, with the quarterback completing 58.6 percent of throws for 1,143 yards with seven touchdowns and three interceptions.