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Baker Mayfield to Remain Panthers' Starting QB Amid Sam Darnold's Injury Rehab

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVOctober 3, 2022

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - OCTOBER 02: Baker Mayfield #6 of the Carolina Panthers looks for a pass against the Arizona Cardinals during the first quarter at Bank of America Stadium on October 02, 2022 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule told reporters Monday that Baker Mayfield would remain the starting quarterback amidst the team's 1-3 start and that Sam Darnold wasn't ready to return from his high ankle sprain despite being eligible to come off injured reserve this week.

"Baker's always been a winner," he added.

Mayfield, whom the Panthers acquired in an offseason trade, has struggled in his first four games, throwing for 747 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions while completing only 54.7 percent of his passes and taking 11 sacks.

His QBR sits at 15.4, which ranks 32nd in the NFL. His passer rating is 75.0, which is 30th in the league.

Josh Norris @JoshNorris

Baker Mayfield is by far the worst QB in the NFL through four weeks<br><br>and will play the 49ers, Rams and Bucs next <a href="https://t.co/11X9UJQD9r">https://t.co/11X9UJQD9r</a>

Mike Renner @PFF_Mike

Baker Mayfield's 5 batted passes against the Cardinals were the most by a QB in 5 years<br><br>He already has 10 batted passes this season<br><br>That's 3 more than any other QB in the NFL

"It's frustrating; we're frustrated," Mayfield told reporters after Sunday's 26-16 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. "But it's not the end of the world. We can still turn this thing around. We're four games into the year."

Still, it's fair to question if both Mayfield and Rhule are on the hot seat after the poor start to the season.

Joe Person @josephperson

The Panthers lose 26-16. Baker Mayfield was awful. A couple of "Fire Matt Rhule" chants broke out near the end. The Panthers are 1-3; Rhule is 11-26.

Mayfield likely doesn't have to worry about being supplanted by Darnold anytime soon, as Darnold is still recovering from a high ankle sprain.

Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter

Panthers’ QB Sam Darnold is now eligible to come off of injured reserve, but he’s still not close to being from the high ankle sprain he suffered in late August, per source. It’s still, in the words of a source, “going to be a while.”

Mayfield also beat out Darnold for the starting gig over the summer—and Darnold struggled last season as the team's starter—so the former Cleveland Browns quarterback likely will be given a long leash.

"Obviously, I'm frustrated with the fact we're 1-3," he told reporters. "I mean, we're four weeks into the year. We can sit here and let you guys pile on us, but we're going to come together as a locker room. That's exactly how we're going to handle it. I don't really care about the fact our fans are booing or what's going on. We're going to figure it out. When we win, it'll still be just us in the locker room. We're going to be just fine."

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