One of the few quarterback situations that remains unsettled a few weeks before the start of the regular season is that of the Carolina Panthers. Incumbent starter Sam Darnold and recent trade acquisition Baker Mayfield are duking it out for the No. 1 job under center, and at the moment, head coach Matt Rhule is not prepared to name one of them the starter for the season opener.
“Not yet,” Rhule said, when asked following the team’s second preseason game 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.”
Carolina did not play either Mayfield or Darnold against the Patriots, instead splitting the quarterback reps between P.J. Walker and third-round pick Matt Corral. Most of the team’s other offensive starters did not take the field against New England, either, which is why Rhule decided to hold both quarterbacks out of the game as well.
“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.”
Despite Rhule’s hesitation to make it official, it certainly seems like momentum is building for Mayfield to be the starter when the Panthers open the season against his former team, the Cleveland Browns, on Sept. 11.
Rhule’s comments contradicted a recent report from The Athletic which indicated that Mayfield will be named the team’s starting quarterback, which itself followed a report from NFL.com that Mayfield had an inside track on the job, which was.