The Panthers might or might not be prepared to end the Baker Mayfield experiment after four games. The former Browns quarterback has not produced much for Carolina this season, and his two interceptions in Week 4 contributed to the offense’s demise. Carolina is now 1-3 after Sunday’s 26-16 loss to the Cardinals. Following the game, head coach Matt Rhule said he wasn’t ready to foresee changes at the position but also wasn’t ready to rule any out, leaving Mayfield’s benching for Week 5 open.
According to NFL.com, Rhule stated that he would hold off on making any significant statements until the next day. “At the end of the day, I’m on the headset, I see the things, and I know that it’s never just one person here, one person there, it’s a lot of different things, so after watching tapes, I’ll try to give you a really well-thought-out answer. Having said that, I think we can play more effectively than that. Simply put, I believe that as an offensive, we all need to step up our game, beginning with myself.
In terms of any one person, I just don’t believe it’s appropriate to remark about it right now, said Rhule. “We have to get it remedied.”
Of course, the essential phrase is “right now.” There are various reasons why the Panthers are 1-3 this season and have a total record of 11-26 under Rhule. But since Rhule took over, the club’s QB situation has been the most consistent and/or obvious problem. It’s also not like Mayfield came into the preseason with a guarantee of employment; he was up against Sam Darnold, a former Jets reject, for the starting position. With the Panthers, Mayfield has played in four games and has thrown four touchdown passes and three interceptions while completing only 54 percent of his passes and recording one of the lowest QB ratings among active starters (74.98).
When asked on Sunday if Mayfield’s predecessor, Darnold, who is healing from a high-ankle sprain suffered in the preseason, might be available as a substitute in the upcoming weeks, Rhule did not provide a timeframe. On the Panthers’ depth chart, P.J. Walker, the backup quarterback who has primarily filled the No. 3 position, is the only other active quarterback.