Until the second week of preseason has passed, no decision will be made on who will be the Carolina Panthers’ QB1 this season.
Panthers head coach Matt Rule on Saturday called his team’s Aug. 19 preseason fight against the hosts the New England Patriots as a proving ground for a QB battle between Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold.
“I’m not setting a quarterback schedule until we’re back from Patriots week,” Rule said. via David Newton of ESPN. “Patriots Week is a real litmus test for us. She’ll really show us where the guys are.”
Darnold and Mayfield changed representatives as the latter joined the exchange team ahead of training camp in July. Darnold made it clear that the two are “cool” with each other and expects the competition to bring out the best in both of them, while Mayfield praised the transparency of the process.
However, none emerged as the clear leader, and Rule maintained throughout that he would not rush into a decision.
By the time the Patriots’ preseason game is scheduled, the Panthers will play the Commanders in their first preseason game on August 13, as well as take part in joint practice with the Patriots before the Friday night game.
Both QBs had interceptions in practice on Saturday, much to Rule’s dismay.
“We have to protect football,” Rule said.
While Rule hasn’t firmly stated that he’ll make a decision after the Patriots game, it will now mark the calendar for arguably the league’s most anticipated quarterback contest.
Next up, though, is a non-practice Sunday that will provide a deep dive into what he saw from the top two picks of the 2018 NFL Draft.
Rule said of his Sunday plans and those of his staff, “Really dig through the tape and see who really masters the offense and who doesn’t.”
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