Baker Mayfield must turn defiance into production to salvage career

(James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports) Baker Mayfield
(James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports) Baker Mayfield /

Carolina Panthers quarterback Baker Mayfield must turn his defiance into improved production as the player tries to salvage his career in 2022. 

It’s clear for all to see that Baker Mayfield’s initial transition to the Carolina Panthers in a competitive environment has been a major disappointment. The quarterback just hasn’t settled into Ben McAdoo’s system effectively so far and unless things improve drastically in the coming weeks, concerns about his long-term aspirations as an NFL starter will only grow.

Mayfield produced arguably his worst performance of the campaign to date in Week 4 against the Arizona Cardinals. Something that drew the ire of fans with boos ringing down from the stands at Bank of America Stadium as the offense continued to falter.

The Oklahoma product brushed off this vocal displeasure immediately after the game, claiming he doesn’t care one way or another about booing in his direction.

Mayfield’s comments were deemed arrogant by some and defiant by others. But the most important thing from the player’s point of view is picking himself up off the floor and putting the right pieces in place to salvage his career.

Baker Mayfield must dust himself and go again in Week 5 and beyond

Talk is cheap for almost everyone within the Panthers right now. Being the NFL’s laughing stock will do that to a franchise, but Mayfield is at least under no illusions as to what needs to be done in the face of some huge adversity.

"“I’ve been here before. I’m pretty comfortable in this position. I have experience being able to bounce back and being able to handle things the right way and lead. To me, we’ll be just fine. Nobody’s happy where we’re at, plain and simple. But you can either harp on it or look at the tape, fix it, and get better from it. We have to overall be better. It’s consistent from looking at the tape. We have to do our job better, at a higher level.”"

It’s not all Mayfield’s fault. McAdoo’s anemic scheme is causing problems and making things too easy for opposing defenses – an old-school, out-of-date system that seems light years behind the rest of the league.

The Heisman Trophy winner is fighting for his career. Mayfield got another instant opportunity to start after being cast aside by the Cleveland Browns, but unless things start progressing on an upward curve, a backup role at best is the only thing he can hope for long-term.

The Panthers were banking on Mayfield to perform better than the previous two starting quarterbacks under Rhule. Although one can make a strong case for the coaching staff making things more complicated than they needed to be with a competition to determine their No. 1 option in training camp when everyone knew the answer.

Excuses are running out across the board in Carolina. Either Mayfield turns his defiant talk into action when it counts, or the Panthers will be back to square one at football’s most important position next spring.

That will come with substantial ramifications for many. It’s unlikely Rhule is given a fourth year if another failed quarterback move comes to fruition and Mayfield’s prospects should also diminish to a level not befitting a former No. 1 overall selection.

Mayfield still has destiny in his own hands, for now. But putting his big talk into action is absolutely imperative in pursuit of minimizing additional damage to the team and himself.

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