The next domino in the Panthers’ quarterback battle has fallen.
Baker Mayfield will start Carolina’s preseason opener against Washington on Saturday, the team announced, taking the first series while Sam Darnold takes the second. The two have both taken reps with the first team during training camp and coach Matt Rhule has said he will take until at least after the second preseason game to make a decision.
“When we know, we know,” Rhule told reporters. “If we knew for sure, we would just say it and move on with it. When we know, we know. Every day brings new evidence. Every day brings new insights. But at the same time, they’re both competitors. If one guy has a strong day, the next guy fights back the next day.”
“I think it’s been healthy for our team. It’s been healthy for the staff. I think it’s been done the right way. I’m pleased with where it’s at.”
Carolina traded for Mayfield last month to compete with Darnold for the starting job. Darnold had it for much of last season and struggled after failing to stick with the Jets, who drafted him third overall in 2018.
Rhule said he wants a starter who can master the fundamentals of the offense, play well situationally and get the ball to Carolina’s playmakers.
“When you have those three things, then you have your starting quarterback,” Rhule said.