Panthers name Baker Mayfield starting quarterback for Week 1 vs Browns

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The Carolina Panthers have named their starting quarterback

Baker Mayfield will face off against his former team when the Panthers host the Cleveland Browns on Sept. 11.

Carolina Panthers QB Baker Mayfield calls a play during practice. The New England Patriots held a joint practice with the Panthers on the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium. 
(Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

“When we started this process, we were looking at three things,” head coach Matt Rhule said. “No. 1: mastery of the offense, No. 2: situational football excellence, and No. 3: moving the ball and getting guys involved. That’s been our focus all along.” 

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“Baker has made a lot of improvement, a lot of growth in all three areas in a short amount of time.”

Sam Darnold and PJ Walker will serve as backups after rookie Matt Corral is expected to miss a significant amount of time after sustaining a torn ligament in his left foot during Carolina’s 20-10 preseason loss against the New England Patriots. 

Carolina Panthers' Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold and Matt Corral talk during the NFL football team's training camp in Gibbs Stadium at Wofford College on Saturday, July 30, 2022, in Spartanburg, S.C. 

Carolina Panthers’ Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold and Matt Corral talk during the NFL football team’s training camp in Gibbs Stadium at Wofford College on Saturday, July 30, 2022, in Spartanburg, S.C. 
(AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

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Mayfield spent four seasons with the Browns. He led Cleveland to a playoff win in 2020, their first playoff win since the 1994 season. It was also Cleveland’s first playoff appearance since 2002 and first winning season since 2007.

His 2021 season was in disarray as he tried to play through injuries. In 14 games, he had 3,010 passing yards, 17 touchdown passes, and 13 interceptions.

Carolina panthers' Baker Mayfield passes during the NFL football team's training camp in Gibbs Stadium at Wofford College on Saturday, July 30, 2022, in Spartanburg, S.C.

Carolina panthers’ Baker Mayfield passes during the NFL football team’s training camp in Gibbs Stadium at Wofford College on Saturday, July 30, 2022, in Spartanburg, S.C.
(AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

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The Browns will be without starting quarterback Deshaun Watson after he agreed to an 11-game suspension and a $5 million fine following the NFL’s investigation into 24 accusations of sexual misconduct leveled against him during his tenure with the Houston Texans. 

Fox News’ Ryan Gaydos contributed to this report.