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Baker Mayfield vs. Sam Darnold: Is Carolina Panthers’ beginning QB job Mayfield’s to lose? – Carolina Panthers Weblog


SPARTANBURG, S.C. — Extensive receiver Rashard Higgins held tightly to his 11-month-old son at the back of a golf cart whereas discussing the “open” competitors between Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold for the Carolina Panthers‘ beginning quarterback job.

He joked younger Sevin acquired his title — with a tweak to the spelling — as a result of seven follows six, the uniform variety of Mayfield, his teammate and pal in Cleveland the previous 4 seasons.

In different phrases, if anybody has purpose to drag for Mayfield, it is Higgins.

However when requested who he believes will begin Week 1 in opposition to the Cleveland Browns, the participant nicknamed “Hollywood” did not supply readability.

“Whoever makes that call, it will be one, so we’ll see,” he stated with a smile.

That is the corporate line.

Whether or not it is Mayfield, acquired final month in a commerce with the Browns, or Darnold, acquired final yr in a commerce with the New York Jets, the Panthers consider the competitors between the No. 1 and No. 3 general picks of the 2018 draft will make them higher.

Whether or not you consider the competitors is really “open” or that is Mayfield’s job to lose — as many across the league consider — would not matter, significantly to third-year coach Matt Rhule, whose future would possibly rely on the end result.

He states nearly each day this is not a one-day competitors and it probably will take time to determine.

“I have been on report with what I feel,” stated Rhule, who opened coaching camp saying efficiency will determine the end result. “I’ve simply acquired to fret in regards to the guys, and hopefully they be ok with the best way we’re doing it.”

They appear to, and to date, neither has carried out properly sufficient to distance himself from the opposite.

“Every little thing is extraordinarily clear,” Mayfield stated. “They’re telling us collectively how they’re dealing with it. It is not being stated to at least one individual and Sam’s listening to different issues. It is proper there in entrance of us, clear and concise.”

The preseason competitors plan

You realize the routine if you happen to’ve adopted the primary week of camp. Darnold works with the primary staff someday whereas Mayfield works with the second. The following day, they flip-flop. The following, they break up time with the starters. It is about as 50-50 as you may get.

As Rhule defined to his quarterbacks, “We won’t essentially at all times be honest, however we’ve got to be simply.”

Followers have already got a favourite. Earlier than the primary observe, as Mayfield and Darnold walked collectively to the Wofford School fields, the chants overwhelming had been in Mayfield’s favor.

Since then, they’ve arrived individually, however Mayfield nonetheless will get extra chants, and louder.

For now, neither appears involved. Every is concentrated on getting a greater grasp of offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s system and fixing flaws which have them competing for a job as a substitute of proudly owning one.

Rhule likes what he is seen, significantly from Mayfield after solely two weeks within the system.

“We check guys daily,” he stated. “His assessments come again within the lots of. He is a professionals professional.”

The lacking hyperlink to turning into a contender?

The final time the Panthers had this sort of an audition was 2003, when longtime backup Jake Delhomme was introduced in to compete with veteran Rodney Peete. Peete began the opener, however Delhomme took over within the second half and led the staff to the Tremendous Bowl.

New Panthers guard Austin Corbett understands what it means to solidify the quarterback place, having gained a Tremendous Bowl final season with the Los Angeles Rams after they traded for Matthew Stafford. He additionally is aware of the potential of Mayfield, since he performed with the quarterback in Cleveland his first season and a half as a professional.

Corbett believes whoever emerges between Mayfield and Darnold has the potential to make Carolina a contender.

“Their degree of competitors goes to push one another to the following degree of efficiency,” he stated.

Whereas not taking part in favorites, Corbett stated the power Mayfield brings is “really unmatched.”

“A real love of competitors that he pours out into all the pieces,” he stated. “He beats himself up over minor errors.”

Darnold, Corbett stated, is extra laid again. He seldom appears upset.

“However they have been gelling collectively to date, serving to one another out and getting alongside simply effective,” he stated. “They only each need this staff to be essentially the most profitable it may be.”

Pink zone success the important thing to beginning?

Profitable is what Rhule desires greater than something after going 5-11 and 5-12 his first two seasons. Inconsistent quarterback play (2020 with Teddy Bridgewater and final season with Darnold and Cam Newton) is a giant purpose he hasn’t gained.

A lot of that inconsistency has been within the crimson zone, as solely 42% of their crimson zone performs have been passes in two seasons beneath Rhule, which ranks thirty first within the NFL. Mayfield appeared to create the primary separation within the battle on Monday when he threw three landing passes to none for Darnold contained in the 20.

Mayfield continued to impress Tuesday along with his willingness to take photographs downfield, one thing Darnold hasn’t carried out properly as a professional (his 27% completion charge on throws not less than 20 yards downfield ranks final within the NFL over the previous 4 seasons; Mayfield ranks 18th at 42%). Mayfield’s 50-yard completion to Robbie Anderson drew applause from teammates and followers.

That Mayfield led the Browns to an 11-5 report and a playoff win in 2020 additionally offers him extra credibility. Darnold has gone 6-17 the previous two seasons and is 17-32 because the starter general.

However to date in camp, Rhule has handled each quarterbacks like they’re 0-0, and they’re serving to one another out in conferences and on the sector.

“Clearly, we each wish to be the beginning quarterback for this staff,” Darnold stated. “That is obvious. However on the finish of the day it is not me or Baker making that call.

“That form of makes it simpler for us to root for one another.”

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