Panthers' Baker Mayfield, Matt Rhule analyze preseason debut: 'Some good, some bad,' QB says

panthers' baker mayfield, matt rhule analyze preseason debut: 'some good, some bad,' qb says

Panthers’ Baker Mayfield, Matt Rhule analyze preseason debut: ‘Some good, some bad,’ QB says

Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold each played sparingly in the Panthers’ first preseason game Saturday as they looked to stake their claim to the team’s starting quarterback job.

Mayfield saw the field first. He got the start and completed 4 of 7 passes for 45 yards while leading Carolina to a field goal on his lone drive against Washington.

Though Mayfield’s appearance was brief, Panthers coach Matt Rhule felt that the team learned a lot from it. He seemed pleased with how Mayfield’s 13 plays went.

“Still a lot to build on, but I did think he moved the ball and was in control,” Rhule said during his postgame news conference. “[He had] a nice long drive to start the game. So it looked somewhat clean until the very end.”

Rhule singled out just one of Mayfield’s plays as an outright negative: a 4-yard loss after a fumbled snap that set up a third-and-14 at Washington’s 23. That caused the drive to stall and eventually forced the field goal try.

MORE: Who is winning the Baker Mayfield vs. Sam Darnold battle?

Aside from that, Rhule was impressed with Mayfield’s ability to move the ball by any means necessary.

“He did a nice job moving it with his feet and finding checkdowns,” Rhule said.

While Rhule seemed generally pleased with Mayfield’s performance, the quarterback’s reaction to his debut was mixed. He said it contained “some good, some bad” and bemoaned the aborted snap, which he said was “100 percent his fault.”

“Obviously getting a field goal — points are always good on the opening drive,” Mayfield told reporters after the game. “But yeah, it’s just the frustration about [not] ending up in the end zone.”

Mayfield also knew not to make much of getting the start in the preseason opener. He and Rhule both said that it was just Mayfield’s turn to start. As each noted, both quarterbacks got fairly equal playing time and generated scoring drives.

“That was just for today,” Rhule said of Mayfield starting. “We’ll go back and look at this tape. Obviously, Sam got us in the end zone; Baker led us down the field. Both guys played well in terms of production. We’ll go back and look and see where they are but that was just for today.”

MORE: Panthers OC Ben McAdoo: QB competition will end well ‘as long as we don’t resort to cannibalism’

Mayfield has embraced the competition since being traded to the Panthers from the Browns in early July. His tune remained unchanged Saturday.

“I think our mentality is best suited [to] just put our heads down and go to work and just try to improve each day,” he said. “The best man is going to win [the competition] but we’re also trying to make this team better.

“I think that’s the biggest part about it. Our QB room’s handled it extremely well, and we’re going to continue to do that just to show leadership. It’s all about winning and that QB room is about that too.”

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