NFL: Sam Darnold and Baker Mayfield battle for Panthers starting job

NFL: Sam Darnold and Baker Mayfield battle for Panthers starting job

SPARTANBURG, SC — The Carolina Panthers won’t make what coach Matt Rhule called a “major decision” on the identity of the team’s future starting quarterback until after training camp.

Rhule will have to decide between Sam Darnold and Baker Mayfield, recently acquired from the Cleveland Browns. The August 19 preseason game against the New England Patriots could say a lot about the identity of the future starter.

“I’m not going to put a timeline on the quarterback position,” Rhule said. Patriots week is a real litmus test for us. This is really going to show us where the guys are at. »

Meanwhile, the Panthers may have lost defensive end Marquis Haynes for an extended period to a left knee injury.

Carolina may be interested in Jason Pierre-Paul, 33, who is the most outstanding free agent still available on defense. He had 9.5 sacks for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2020, but only had 2.5 last season.

As for quarterbacks, Mayfield and Darnold worked on par with the first and second teams throughout the two-hour situation-focused practice. Mayfield completed 14 of his 21 passes with a long touchdown pass and an interception. Darnold had 20 of 28 attempts with a touchdown and an interception.

“The disappointing thing is every guy had an interception,” Rhule said. We have to protect the ball. »

Overall, Rhule said there was a lot to like about Mayfield and Darnold in terms of explosive plays and long streaks.

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