Carolina Panthers identify Baker Mayfield as beginning QB for Week 1 vs. Cleveland Browns
The Panthers on Monday named Mayfield the starter for the Sept. 11 opener towards the Cleveland Browns, who moved on from the primary decide of the 2018 draft after buying and selling with the Houston Texans for Deshaun Watson.
Watson won’t play within the opener after being suspended by the NFL for the primary 11 video games for violating the league’s private conduct coverage, so it is going to be Mayfield towards Jacoby Brissett.
Mayfield gained what the Panthers described as an open competitors towards 2021 starter Sam Darnold, though league sources mentioned the job was his to lose all alongside.
“Once we began the method we mentioned we have been taking a look at three issues,” coach Matt Rhule mentioned. “No. 1, mastery of the offense; No. 2, situational soccer excellence; and No. 3, shifting the ball and getting guys concerned.
“Baker has made loads of enchancment, loads of progress in all three areas in a brief period of time.”
Mayfield mentioned final week throughout joint practices towards the New England Patriots he wasn’t apprehensive about when the choice was made.
“I’ve mentioned it earlier than, the locker room and the group goes to go because the QB room goes, and so long as we’re main accurately and we’re supporting one another, good issues are going to occur,” Mayfield mentioned. “So we’re not apprehensive about when that is going to occur, simply attempting to get higher every day.”
Mayfield by no means misplaced confidence after Cleveland gave up on him.
“It is not a redemption 12 months,” he mentioned. “I do know what I am able to. I am not attempting to show something to anyone else. I am simply attempting to guide this locker room the most effective I can and win a bunch of ball video games.”
Carolina hopes to get the 2020 model of Mayfield, who went 11-5 and gained a playoff recreation for the Browns with 26 touchdowns to solely eight interceptions. The 2017 Heisman Trophy winner struggled to a 6-8 file final season with 17 touchdowns and 13 interceptions whereas coping with an damage to his non-throwing shoulder.
The Panthers started trying to improve at quarterback nearly instantly after the 2021 season when Darnold went 4-7 because the starter. They have been amongst 4 groups aggressively going after Watson, who on the time had 24 circumstances of sexual misconduct filed towards him.
When Watson signed with the Browns, the Panthers explored the potential of buying and selling for Mayfield across the draft earlier than including Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral within the third spherical. The holdup was Cleveland’s unwillingness to nearly all of Mayfield’s 2022 wage of $18.9 million.
That modified in early July when Cleveland agreed to pay $10.5 million of the contract, leaving the Panthers $4.58 million after Mayfield agreed to take a $3.5 million reduce with the potential to earn that again in incentives.
Being named the starter is step one in reaching these incentives, 70% of the snaps, in response to a league supply.
Mayfield wasn’t handed the job instantly. He and Darnold break up repetitions evenly via the primary three weeks of coaching camp.
However as Mayfield rapidly realized offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s system it grew to become obvious he was going to win the job. Even McAdoo, who rated Mayfield the sixth-best quarterback within the 2018 draft and had questions on Mayfield’s capability to run a professional fashion offense, was gained over early.
“Baker since he is been right here within the final two weeks, it has been fairly spectacular,” McAdoo mentioned. “One in every of his strengths is command. He can lead a room, he can command a room, he can command an offense. He has a great presence about him. And, , he is obtained a hearth in his guts.”
Mayfield saved his flamboyant character beneath management all through camp, selecting his phrases fastidiously and speaking with nice respect for Darnold and the competitors between them.
Huge receiver Rashard Higgins, who performed the final 4 seasons in Cleveland with Mayfield, laughed early in camp on the thought that will proceed for lengthy.
“He is simply holding it in proper now,” Higgins mentioned. “However when it comes out, it will come out. Could God be with you when it comes out.”
Maybe that can occur now that Mayfield has been named the starter and begins making ready for the Browns.
“Baker, I’ve seen huge trash discuss, and he is normally obtained loads of F-bombs in there,” Higgins mentioned. “I do not know when it will come out, however it will come out.”