Carolina Panthers fans—how many times did you think to yourself last season, “If only we had a decent quarterback . . . “? Well, it seems as though the organization itself has pondered the same exact question.
On Thursday, MMQB senior reporter Albert Breer released his latest mailbag feature. In it, he addresses the Panthers’ point of view on their ongoing quarterback battle between Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold.
And he starts by noting where it’s gone wrong for the latter.
“Now, the problem for him is that he really hasn’t progressed much since coming out of college as the raw, athletic, tough and likable USC quarterback who had a lot of work to do to become a proficient pro,” Breer responds to a reader. “He still doesn’t see the field fast enough and isn’t super comfortable playing from the pocket. Mayfield, on the other hand, has shown strong accuracy outside the numbers, arm strength and playmaking ability.”
Those flaws were evident throughout much of 2021 for Darnold, even in a season where he put together the most impressive three-game stretch of his career. The then fourth-year passer finished up the final nine games of last year having tossed six touchdowns to just 12 interceptions—with his jitters and his happy feet often getting the better of him.
Breer went on to add that Carolina acquired Darnold’s fellow 2018 draftee in Mayfield with hopes of him providing some sort of stability. As a more established and known commodity, the former No. 1 overall pick could keep this Panthers team afloat this fall.
“The Panthers’ idea in acquiring Mayfield was that it’d set a floor for the team,” Breer writes. “They’d be at least average at the position. And Mayfield’s shown in camp already, by the sounds of it, that he can at least get them there.”
It’s difficult to get a hit when you’re aiming for the stars in this league, especially under center. So if you can’t get an elite captain, you get one that won’t completely crash your ship—an expedition head coach Matt Rhule has yet to successfully see through here in the NFL.
This content was originally published here.