4 major observations from Baker Mayfield’s fifth Panthers practice

(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Baker Mayfield
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Baker Mayfield /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Baker Mayfield and Ben McAdoo /

Baker Mayfield begins to separate himself as Carolina Panthers QB1

It might have taken a week, but this was the first time Baker Mayfield began to separate himself in the race for Carolina Panthers QB1 in 2022. Sam Darnold struggled to get anything going and Matt Corral’s reps were limited, so his outstanding performance came at just the right time.

Of course, one could make an argument that it was only against second-stringers, even though Mayfield didn’t have the benefit of the more elite weapons at Carolina’s disposal. His knowledge of the offense looked much better and there were some chemistry improvements during a productive session from the quarterback overall.

Mayfield knows more is needed. And it’ll be a challenge if he gets reps against Carolina’s first-team defense on Tuesday given that stud cornerback Jaycee Horn is officially off the active-physically unable to perform list and looking to compete.

If Mayfield can perform to a similar standard on Tuesday and possibly beyond, then the Panthers would be wise to end this so-called quarterback competition ahead of time. This would also enable them to bed Corral in as their No. 2 and look for a way to remove Darnold completely from the equation.

Couple this with Mayfield looking more comfortable in his new surroundings, and it’s hard to envisage a scenario where the signal-caller doesn’t impose himself further in upcoming practices. There’s a real conviction to his throws and far more intent than seen previously, which is refreshing before such a crucial season.

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