CHARLOTTE, N.C — Baker Mayfield received the beginning at quarterback for the Carolina Panthers of their preseason opener at Washington, however Sam Darnold held his personal.
Mayfield and Darnold are in what the Panthers name an “open” competitors for the beginning job. Neither made an enormous deal about who began after Saturday’s 23-21 win over the Commanders.
“It was my flip to start out,” mentioned Mayfield, who for probably the most half has been alternating with Darnold on who works with the primary crew in follow. “Simply take it in the future at a time. Do not be important of ourselves and attempt to get higher.”
Stated Darnold: “For me personally, it is doing every thing I can with the performs that I’ve. That is how I’ve received to take it at this level.”
Mayfield went 4-for-7 for 46 yards in his solely drive that ended with a 41-yard area objective. His greatest mistake was a fumbled snap within the purple zone (19-yard line) that left him with a third-and-14 move he did not full.
“Clearly, gotta clear up the center-QB trade,” Mayfield mentioned. “That was 100% my fault. Factors are at all times good on the opening drive, nevertheless it’s irritating not stepping into the top zone.”
Darnold took over on the Washington 19-yard line on his first collection after the protection recovered a fumble. He wanted solely three performs to get Carolina into the top zone, the third an 8-yard move to huge receiver Rashard Higgins, who was one in all Mayfield’s favourite receivers in Cleveland the previous 4 seasons.
Darnold put nice contact on the landing in an space he struggled final season. He accomplished simply 54% of his passes within the purple zone in 2021 and he had a Complete Quarterback Ranking of 34.
Darnold received a second collection since his first was quick. He threw away his solely move try beneath strain on third down.
“It was a great first drive, and that second drive … it wasn’t the very best,” Darnold mentioned on the tv broadcast.
Mayfield began quick, finishing his first two move makes an attempt and 4 of his first six to maneuver Carolina to the 19. The drive slowed down on his fumbled snap, however total he was in control of the offense towards Washington’s first-team protection.
Mayfield and Darnold cut up reps with the primary crew within the first part of coaching camp at Wofford School in Spartanburg, South Carolina, that ended on Wednesday.
Coach Matt Rhule mentioned he will not decide on his starter for Week 1 towards Cleveland till after subsequent week’s joint practices at New England and Friday’s preseason recreation towards the Patriots.
His mantra since camp opened has been “after we know, we all know.”
However Mayfield was first up in Thursday night time’s FanFest at Financial institution of America Stadium, and now he has began the preseason opener, indicators the crew is leaning towards him.
Rhule, nonetheless, did not make an enormous deal about Mayfield beginning.
“That was only for at present,” he mentioned. “Only for at present. Each guys performed properly by way of manufacturing.”
Carolina acquired Mayfield final month in a commerce with the Browns, who changed the highest decide of the 2018 draft with Deshaun Watson.
Each Rhule and offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo known as Mayfield’s progress the primary two and a half weeks of coaching camp “spectacular.” Mayfield mentioned Saturday his grasp of McAdoo’s system is “night time and day.”
“I really feel much more snug,” he mentioned. “That permeates all through our offense.”
PJ Walker received the majority of the work in Saturday’s win, going 10-for-19 with no touchdowns or interceptions. Rookie Matt Corral went 1-for-9 for 11 yards.
Corral, regardless of main Carolina to the profitable area objective because of a few Washington penalties, mentioned he needed to have higher communication no matter who he is taking part in with.
“We at all times say we wish full, clear and concise communication,” the third-round decide mentioned. “We have been simply in all places on the market, and that is on me.”