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#pounditSunday, September 25, 2022

Report: Panthers make decision on Week 1 starter

Matt Rhule during a game

Aug 27, 2021; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule before the game at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Panthers have reportedly picked a winner in the Baker Mayfield-Sam Darnold training camp battle for the team’s starting quarterback job.

On Wednesday, The Athletic’s Jeff Howe reported that Mayfield is expected to be named the Panthers’ Week 1 starter against the Cleveland Browns on September 11.

“Baker Mayfield is expected to be named the Panthers starting QB for Week 1, per sources,” Howe tweeted. “He’s been competing with Sam Darnold but should be declared the starter when the team is ready to make the announcement.”

Mayfield seemed to have a leg up on Darnold early on in training camp. Mayfield, even with less familiarity with Carolina’s playbook than Darnold, had reportedly been making bigger plays.

Darnold’s days as Carolina’s starter appeared to be numbered this offseason. The team would not have traded for Mayfield if they were confident in Darnold’s abilities. The 25-year-old’s underwhelming performance last season likely did not help matters. In 12 games, he threw for 2,527 yards, nine touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 12 games.

Mayfield threw for 3,010 yards, 17 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 14 games last season. The former No. 1 overall pick certainly has something to prove this season, although he probably has a little extra motivation for Week 1.

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