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Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold did not make it easier for Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule to make a decision as to who will be the starting quarterback during Week 1 of the regular season.
Mayfield started for the Panthers against the Washington Commanders and was 4-of-7 for 45 yards. Darnold was 2-for-3 with 16 yards and threw a touchdown pass in the 23-21 win on Saturday.
Rhule broke down Mayfield and Darnold’s performance on their drives.
“I thought we moved the ball well down the field. He did a nice job of moving it with his feet, finding the checkdowns, and then we got down there tight in the red zone, we called a play-action, the receiver doesn’t run the route, so he has to desert the play,” Rhule said of Mayfield. “Fumbled the snap and ended up not scoring. So, still a lot to build on. But I did think he moved the ball, he controlled a nice long drive to start the game, so it looked somewhat clean until the very end.”
On Darnold, Rhule said: “I think overall for the offense, we protected the football. I don’t believe we turned it over today. We won the turnover battle. He took a big hit on the touchdown throw, made a great play with pads on his head, he stepped up and made it. After that, both guys, I have to really watch the tape to see exactly what they did. But I thought they were both in command and made the right checks, so I was pleased.”
The Panthers also played rookie Matt Corral and former XFL standout P.J. Walker during the game.
Walker led the team with 136 passing yards on 10-of-19 passing. Corral was 1-for-9 with 11 passing yards.
Rhule said Mayfield’s start against the Commanders did not necessarily mean he would start the remainder of preseason.
“No, that was just for today. So, we’ll go back and look at this tape. Obviously, Sam [Darnold] got us in the endzone. Baker led us down the field, so it looked like both guys played well in terms of production. We’ll go back and look and see where they are. That was just for today,” he said.
The Panthers will play the New England Patriots on Friday.