The Carolina Panthers went out and traded for quarterback Baker Mayfield to be their next starter, right? Well, that's what everyone assumed. Head coach Matt Rhule has yet to say it.
After Friday's preseason tilt with the Patriots, he was once again asked who will be QB1 when Week 1 rolls around. While there is still a firm belief it's going to be Mayfield, Rhule insists he's yet to make a decision, with Sam Darnold still in the mix.
“Not yet,” Rhule told reporters when asked whether he’s ready to name a starting quarterback. “You know, not prepared for anything right now other than watching this tape. Like I said all along, when we know we know, and we’ll announce something when it’s right.”
Baker Mayfield and Darnold both didn't play against New England as backups PJ Walker and Matt Corral took the snaps. Rhule didn't see any sense in putting his top quarterbacks behind a second-string offensive line:
“The ones didn’t play and those guys [Mayfield and Darnold] are both competing to be with the ones, so we wanted to make sure they had a chance,” Rhule said. “We didn’t want to put one or two guys out there and play them behind the second offensive line.”
It appears Baker Mayfield hasn't locked up the starter role quite yet, but all signs point to it. After all, Darnold struggled immensely in 2021, completing just 59.9% of his passes and throwing for a mere nine touchdowns to 13 interceptions. The reality is if Darnold was playing well, the Panthers wouldn't have pulled off a blockbuster for Mayfield.
Rhule has 22 days to make a final call when Carolina faces Baker's former team, the Cleveland Browns. That will be interesting.