From the moment the Carolina traded to Baker Mayfield, it was clear to everyone that he was going to be the starter. Obviously, this was lost on the Panthers. Now, after a delay of nearly two months, the team named Mayfield as their first-week starter, wasting precious time in doing so and they couldn’t come back.
This question stems from a familiar repetition of the Matt Rhule era: a lack of honesty with fans and the media. Since the head coach took office, there has been no honest explanation of the team’s personnel decisions, even if they were so obvious that rhetoric made no sense. This happened when Marty Hurney was general manager, and it has been since Scott Fitterer took the helm. for the first time) in 2019. Carolina has been throwing everything against the wall in hopes that something will hold up, and the decision to trade Mayfield less than a year after signing Sam Darnold is just a continuation of that trend.
There is no doubt that Mayfield will be the best quarterback on the roster. It doesn’t say much, but it’s true — that’s the situation the Panthers themselves are in. However, the team insisted that a QB game was underway to give Mayfield and Darnold equal first-team opportunities in training camp, even though it became clear Baker was immediately the better player.
The problem is that this has a knock-on effect on the rest of the list. Mayfield and Darnold traded steals with the first and second teams, respectively, leaving the other two quarterbacks on the roster, Matt Corral and PJ Walker, with their own pretend QB contenders for the third string spot.
Like Mayfield is always number one,
Everyone all knew Coral would be either a backup or, at worst, No. 3. This is what happens when you pick a quarterback in the early rounds of the draft. Especially the people you’re talking about as potential faces of the franchise. Walker has always been a good player for the Panthers, but he never showed up in the team’s future plans — and he’s a free agent after 2022.
So, by pretending there was a game between Mayfield and Darnold, and then pretending there was a game between Coral and Walker – this It really just deprived Coral of any development opportunities. When Desmond Reed and Malik Willis started the regular season, Coral left a fringe offensive linebacker and receiver in training camp and in the preseason. That meant he never really had a chance to develop a rapport with the team’s best player, and any opportunity to get better outside of a day of training camp where he worked with the second team was wasted .
Now those opportunities are completely gone. Corral will miss the entire 2022 season with a Lisfranc injury. While that was unforeseeable, the Panthers could have done more to get to know their rookie quarterback better before losing him. This is another avoidable misstep by a team in this position, in the end feels like putting it together .
What makes this so difficult is that this season feels like a lose-lose proposition right now. If Mayfield turns off the lights and leads the Panthers to the playoffs, they’ll feel obligated to extend his roster — especially with Corral’s numbers so scant. If the team stinks again and finds itself in the top 10 again, they’ll now be in a situation where they have a high pick in a QB-rich draft without knowing if Corral is a Good passer.
All it takes is being honest and doing the obvious. Named Mayfield a starter almost immediately after the trade for Mayfield, knowing that Darnold would be the backup. Then the team could have given Matt Coral plenty of opportunities to showcase his talent instead of this pointless back-and-forth, like every other rookie — but they didn’t.
The Panthers can’t get out of their own way when it comes to quarterback, but if that leads to a winning season and postseason The success of the game, fans can forgive all this. If that hadn’t happened, Charlotte’s seat has never been so hot.