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Rhule: Baker Mayfield Starting for Panthers ‘Was Just for Today’

Panthers coach Matt Rhule named recently acquired quarterback Baker Mayfield the starter on Saturday for the Panthers’ preseason opener against the Commanders.

After Mayfield went 4-for-7 for 45 yards and Sam Darnold went 2-for-3 for 16 yards and a touchdown in Carolina’s 23–21 victory over Washington on Saturday afternoon, Rhule made it clear that he is not being quick to crown Mayfield the team’s starting quarterback.

“That was just for today,” Rhule told reporters after Saturday’s game.

“Just for today. Both guys played well in terms of production,” Rhule added.

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The expectation when Mayfield was acquired from Cleveland was that he would compete and have an excellent chance to become the Panthers’ starting quarterback.

With Mayfield taking the field as the starter in the first preseason game, it does seem like it is trending in that direction. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported last week that Mayfield had the “inside track” to the starting quarterback job.

Two other quarterbacks saw action for the Panthers on Saturday as well. Matt Corral, a rookie from Ole Miss, went 1-for-9 for 11 yards. Veteran P.J. Walker went 10-for-19 for 136 yards.

It makes sense that the Panthers elected to trade for Mayfield, given their struggles at the quarterback position last season. Darnold completed 59.9% of his passes last season for 2,527 yards and nine touchdowns to 13 interceptions.

Meanwhile, Mayfield completed 60.5% of his passes for 3,010 yards and 17 touchdowns to 13 interceptions while battling through multiple injuries as Cleveland’s starting quarterback last season.