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#pounditFriday, December 2, 2022

Matt Rhule seemingly throws Baker Mayfield under the bus

Aug 26, 2022; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) throws before the game against the Buffalo Bills at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Panthers are sticking with Baker Mayfield as their starting quarterback in Week 5, but head coach Matt Rhule has seemingly put the former top overall pick on notice.

The Panthers rank last in total offense through the early part of the season with just 262.3 yards per game. Rhule spoke with reporters on Monday about those struggles, and he pointed the finger at Mayfield.

“We have to get it fixed because the protection is good enough that we can settle that down a little bit. That has to happen this week. It’s been four weeks of it,” Rhule said, via Ellis Williams of the Charlotte Observer. “We just need Baker to settle down and play within the scheme and play on time. Those are the things that we coach. Those are the things that we believe in, he believes in.”

You could say Rhule was stating the obvious. However, it is noteworthy that he mentioned how the protection has been good enough. That seemed like his roundabout way of saying Mayfield has been Carolina’s biggest problem. Though, there is certainly an element of truth to that.

“When fans pay their money to come here, they deserve to see better football than we played (on Sunday),” Rhule said. “We played good defense, but people want to see offense. They want to be entertained. … When you play the way we played on defense for long parts of that game, we just need the offense to kind of kick in a little bit and make some plays.”

There is a reason there was barely any trade market for Mayfield during the offseason. While he does not have the best supporting cast, he has looked like the same player we saw with the Cleveland Browns. The Panthers simply do not have a better option on their roster.

One prominent analyst recently blamed Rhule and his staff for Carolina’s struggles, but the coach strongly disagreed. Rhule has made it pretty obvious that he believes his team’s issues begin at quarterback.

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