Charlotte, NC – Carolina Panthers coach Matt Roll doesn’t know if the starting quarterback will be the recently acquired player. Baker Mayfield or back starter Sam DarnoldBut he believes the competition will give the team the best chance of success since arriving in 2020.
“My job is not to pick a quarterback,” Roll said Monday, the first time he’s spoken publicly since Carolina acquired Mayfield in a deal with Cleveland earlier this month. Players will do it the way they play.
“My job is to make sure we have really good players in the room, which we are doing right now, and to make sure they get chances. It will be an interesting journey. When we know, we will know.”
The trip begins on Tuesday, when the Panthers go to training camp at Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina. It will be Rhule’s third camp in the NFL after consecutive seasons of five wins to begin his NFL coaching career.
The nationwide perception is that the Panthers need to show a marked improvement for Rhule to keep his job beyond this season. Rhule’s focus is on building a winning team, and he understands that a capable midfielder is key to that.
He said, “This year, I expect to win. I’ve never been in a season and said, ‘Well, I hope to win many games and keep my job.’ I want to win at the highest level.”
Rhule believes the competition between Mayfield and Darnold gives him that opportunity no matter who wins the job. With these two, along with the third round selection Matt Coral And the former XFL star PJ WalkerHe can’t imagine so many teams having a deeper quarterback room.
“It’s going to be a very, very big competition,” Rule said. “And to be honest, it’s going to be really good for our team, the competition.”
That competition started over the weekend as Mayfield and Darnold practiced running backwards Christian McCaffrey And his other teammates are on their own in the Charlotte area. Rolle said Darnold was part of that competition, talking about how he handled the Mayfield addition.
“When we told him we were making this move, he treated it like the best player on the team, the absolute professional,” said Rolle. “He pretty much took it like, ‘Hey, I’m going to control what I can control, and that’s how I play.'” I look forward to seeing him play great football during this camp.”
The Panthers haven’t played great in the middle since the middle of the 2018 season, when Cam Newton was the starter. Since Rhule was appointed in January 2020, they have had seven different players start at least one match.
Darnold was 4-7 as the start of last season, prompting the team to go after the former Houston Texans Deshaun Watson during the holiday season. The Cleveland Browns won that fight, making Mayfield an expendable.
Brown followed Watson after Mayfield struggled with a 6-8 record last season after hitting 11-5 in 2020.
So both midfielders, Mayfield (2018 draft pick) and Darnold (third), came to camp with something to prove.
Darnold’s advantage is that he had a complete leave of absence in the system being implemented by new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo. Mayfield’s advantage is that he showed in 2020 with Brown that he has what it takes to get a team to the playoffs.
“There is no doubt that he has to get here and he has to learn the offense and he has to go from level 1 knowing the offense to level 4 in mastery where you are subconsciously confident,” Roll said of Mayfield. a trip.”
Rhule won’t reveal how he splits repetitions between the two in camp until he sits down with all of his quarterbacks on Tuesday. However, he expects the mode to be “flexible” based on performance.
The goal, Rolle said, is to create an “identity” for attack that the team hasn’t had for the past two years in large part due to inconsistent play in the middle.
“I think we have a really talented team. Because we have talent, we can really focus on performance and results,” said Rolle after an unexpected period of rebuilding the roster and staff.