Rhule yet to make Panthers QB decision on Mayfield, Darnold

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With just five weeks until the open of the NFL season, the Carolina Panthers still do not know who their starting quarterback will be.

After both Sam Darnold and Baker Mayfield took part in Saturday's scrimmage, head coach Matt Rhule said that the team will wait at least two more weeks before naming a starter.

Rhule pointed to the team’s joint practices and August 19 pre-season game with the New England Patriots as the next evaluation point.

"I'm not putting a timetable on the quarterback position until after we get back from the Patriots week," Rhule said Saturday. "The Patriots week is a true litmus test for us. That will really show us where guys are."

Neither Darnold—Carolina’s 2021 opening-starter—nor the freshly acquired Mayfield has yet to emerge as the favorite, and Rhule gave both players mixed reviews after the weekend scrimmage.

"The disappointing thing is each guy had an interception," Rhule said. "We’ve got to protect the football."

The Panthers open their regular season on Sept. 11 by hosting the Cleveland Browns, Mayfield’s former club.

The two signal-callers will be forever linked as the top two quarterbacks taken in the 2018 draft, with Mayfield going first overall and Darnold being chosen third.

Darnold spent three seasons with the New York Jets before being traded to the Panthers for draft picks last April. He won his first three starts with Carolina last season before finishing 4-7 with nine touchdown passes and 13 interceptions.

Mayfield started 59 career games for the Browns, and his efficient play in 2020 helped lead Cleveland to its first playoff victory since the 1994 season.

Mayfield’s injury-marred 2021 campaign was a letdown, however, and the Browns chose to pursue DeShaun Watson in the trade market.

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