Who will start at QB for the Panthers in week 1?
Baker Mayfield will be the starting QB for the Carolina Panthers against the Cleveland Browns, his former team, in the first week of the NFL regular season.
Deshaun Watson’s 11-game ban will condition the Cleveland Browns’ season but the franchise had already taken a huge chance on the former Texans quarterback when Baker Mayfield was traded to the Carolina Panthers following a series of disagreements with the Browns management.
Now, Panthers head coach Matt Rhule has officially named Mayfield as the starting quarterback ahead of Sam Darnold for the first game of the season regular, which as the fates of the NFL schedule would have it is against none other than the Browns.
In a press conference after Monday’s practice session, Mayfield stated that there will be mixed feelings in the game against Cleveland, but the important thing for him is to keep improving until then.
“Obviously, there’s a lot of attachment there. I’m not going to sit here and be a robot and say that it doesn’t mean anything. It will. But right now, all that matters is me continuing to improve until this regular season starts.”
Mayfield: “I’m loving football again”
“I’m loving football again,” Mayfield added. “A fresh start is great for everyone every once in a while, and I’m just going to take this opportunity and not take it for granted.
Mayfield will become Carolina’s fourth different Week 1 starter in four seasons, following Cam Newton (2019), Teddy Bridgewater (2020) and Darnold (2021).
Mayfield completed 60.5 percent of his passes for 3,010 yards, 17 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 14 starts last season for the Browns.
Darnold, meanwhile, completed 59.9 percent of his passes for 2,527 yards, nine touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 12 games (11 starts) for the Panthers in 2021.
Mayfield and Darnold were the Nos. 1 and 3 overall picks in the 2018 NFL Draft, respectively. Panthers rookie QB Matt Corral suffered a Lisfranc injury against the Patriots that likely will end his season.
Stiff competition for starting QB role at Panthers
Mayfield has been competing with Darnold for the starting job in preseason and was awarded it by surprising Rhule with how quickly he picked up the offense. Despite being installed as number one, the former Browns shot-caller said that he still has plenty to learn at the Panthers.
“I had to learn to do my job, first and foremost, learn that offense. Obviously, there’s still room to grow,“ Mayfield said. “We both wanted to play; there’s no way around that. We’re not going to sugarcoat it, but that’s just who he is, and that’s who I was going to be regardless. We’re going to support [each other]. We’re going to try and win.”.”