Panthers HC Matt Rhule not ready to name starting QB: ‘We’ll announce it when it’s right”

The Carolina Panthers have yet to officially announce a starting quarterback with their season opener just over three weeks away. 

Despite reports earlier this week that the Panthers would name Baker Mayfield the starter, head coach Matt Rhule isn’t ready to make his decision known yet. 

“Like I’ve said all along, when we know, we know, and we’ll announce it when it’s right,” Rhule told reporters after Friday night’s 20-10 preseason loss to the New England Patriots. 

On Wednesday, The Athletic reported that Mayfield had won the starting QB battle over Sam Darnold. Another report from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said that Mayfield had “the inside track,” and it was his “job to lose.” 

Neither Mayfield nor Darnold played in Friday’s preseason tilt against the Patriots. 

“The ones didn’t play and those guys are both competing to be with the ones, so we wanted to make sure they had a chance,” Rhule said. “We didn’t want to put one or two guys out there and play them behind the second offensive line.” 

Darnold started 11 games for the Panthers last season after being acquired by the Panthers in an offseason trade with the New York Jets. The 25-year-old went 4-7 as a starter, throwing for 2,527 yards, nine touchdowns, and 13 interceptions. 

Mayfield came to Carolina via a trade with the Browns in July that sent a conditional fifth-round pick to Cleveland. The 27-year-old went 6-8 in 14 starts for the Browns last season, throwing for 3,010 yards, 17 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions. 

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