4 key observations from Carolina Panthers preseason win at Commanders

(Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports) Baker Mayfield
(Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports) Baker Mayfield /
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Carolina Panthers
(Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports) Baker Mayfield /

Baker Mayfield maintains the edge for Carolina Panthers QB1 

Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule said he didn’t expect to name the starting quarterback until after the second preseason game against the New England Patriots. And while that is still a week away, it appears that Baker Mayfield has the edge over Sam Darnold.

Mayfield got the nod as the starting quarterback and made the most of it. He was composed in the pocket, went through progressions effectively, and was on target with the football.

The Oklahoma product had a great opportunity to really stamp himself as the Week 1 starter on a well-thrown deep ball to Robbie Anderson, which was broken up at the catch point. Still, Mayfield seemed to have good timing with his receivers, hooking up with Shi Smith twice on third down to keep the drive moving.

Mayfield’s only possession of the game ended in a field goal after a blown pass play, a botched snap with the center, and a miscommunication with Brandon Zylstra. Still, he went 4-for-7 for 45 yards and three first downs.

As for Darnold, it’s hard to measure his performance based on the few throws he made. He did connect with Rashard Higgins on a deep cross for an eight-yard touchdown and finished the game 2-for-3 for 17 yards.

Darnold found the end zone and finished with a higher passer rating. But Mayfield started the day and had the more impressive performance of the two.