Panthers won’t decide on starting quarterback until after second preseason game

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When the Panthers traded for quarterback Baker Mayfield, many assumed he’d be the Week One starter, when the Browns come to town. And he quite possibly will. But it’s not a decision that will be made for a couple of weeks, at least.

“I’m not putting a timetable on the quarterback position until after we get back from the Patriots week,” coach Matt Rhule said after Saturday’s scrimmage, via David Newton of “The Patriots week is a true litmus test for us. That will really show us where guys are.”

The Panthers face the Patriots in New England on Friday, August 19. Next Saturday, the Panthers play the Commanders in Washington.

Newton writes that neither Mayfield nor Sam Darnold had a clear advantage during Saturday’s scrimmage, so the competition continues.

The longer this lasts, the fewer the opportunities both quarterbacks will have to get properly prepared for Week One. Even if it’s ultimately Mayfield, the sooner the Panthers go all in with him, the sooner he can go all in to get ready to face the Browns.

Still, it’s up to Mayfield to seize the job. Once the locker room knows he’s the better choice, he’ll have the job. And if he doesn’t, things could get very awkward for the Panthers.

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