FOX Sports analyst Skip Bayless blasted the Carolina Panthers for not naming quarterback Baker Mayfield their Week 1 starter immediately.
Although there appears to be a growing separation between Baker Mayfield and others in the race to become Carolina Panthers QB1, head coach Matt Rhule is still planning to split reps between the newly acquired quarterback and Sam Darnold in the coming days.
Just how much longer this continues is debatable. But it could go on right up until the organization concludes training camp and gears up for their regular-season opener against the Cleveland Browns at Bank of America Stadium.
By all accounts, Darnold has not been terrible in camp. However, the Panthers didn’t spend all offseason coveting Mayfield for the Oklahoma product to be sitting on the sidelines against his former employers in Week 1.
It’s going to be a gradual process for Mayfield, who came in green, had to pick up the playbook quickly, and also develop chemistry with his teammates along the way. The No. 1 overall selection in 2018 has turned things up a notch this week and if the same trend continues moving forward, Carolina’s coaching staff has an easy decision to make.
Skip Bayless rips Carolina Panthers for not naming Baker Mayfield QB1 immediately
According to FOX Sports analyst Skip Bayless, the Panthers’ quarterback competition shouldn’t have taken place, to begin with.
When discussing the topic of who’d be Carolina’s starter on Undisputed, Bayless still felt that Darnold would be given the job – an opinion that was shared by Shannon Sharpe – and lambasted Rhule for not naming Mayfield as their preferred option once the trade was finalized.
"“It’s coach (Matt) Rhule on the hottest of hot seats and yet, if he had half a football brain, Baker (Mayfield) would already be installed as their starting quarterback because it’s glaringly obvious that the only way to save his job is to give Mayfield the bulk of camp snaps as he is learning yet another playbook from another coordinator who failed miserably with the New York Giants. Mayfield is his only hope, his last resort. If either Kyle Shanahan or Sean McVay were head coach of the Carolina Panthers, Baker Mayfield would already be the starter. It would be over and out.”"
Bayless is a long-time Mayfield sympathizer and has made no secret of his belief that the Panthers are a ‘clown show‘ under Rhule. With that being said, providing extra competition in camp wasn’t the worst idea in the world given the current state of affairs in Carolina.
Everyone knows what Darnold can do. Mayfield might be coming off a down year of his own, but he was playing with a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder and can be excused for this regression, to a certain extent.
Mayfield has shown urgency and raised the tempo this week when the pads came on. There appears to be more conviction when he’s under center and if his knowledge of the offense develops further in the weeks ahead, then it’s almost guaranteed he’ll be the man to lead Carolina in 2022.
Just how Mayfield moves the needle remains to be seen. If his reduced involvement with the first unit ends up restricting his production when it matters, then some serious questions will be asked about the Panthers’ approach.
It might not be much longer before we find out for sure. But then again, nothing can be ruled out given Carolina’s recent thought process at the most important position in football.