Battle for big cat: Mayfield vs Darnold

One of the biggest questions around the NFL and the Panthers organization is who’s gonna be the Panthers’ starting quarterback: Sam Darnold or Baker Mayfield.

In my opinion, it should be Baker. You gotta ask yourself who’s gonna win you more games, and I believe Baker will do so. For starters, Mayfield is more accomplished in the league. Also when you compare the best year by both quarterbacks, Baker has much better numbers. In 2020, Baker threw for 26 touchdowns and only 8 interceptions while throwing for 3,563 yards with a completion percentage of 62%. Meanwhile, Sam’s best year came in 2019 when he threw for 19 touchdowns to 13 interceptions while totaling a low 3,024 yards and a 61% completion rate. So when you compare the 2 years, Baker beats Sam in every category.

Something else in Baker’s corner is his willingness to push the ball downfield. In Mayfield’s career, he averages 7.3 yards per attempt. Through four years, Sam has a career 6.5 yards per attempt. As we all know, Carolina has been at least lackluster in big plays the past couple of years. Baker gives the Panthers a higher chance of getting those big plays.

Baker’s confidence and leadership are two things we haven’t had since Cam Newton was the starting quarterback. Those types of quarterbacks bring a certain energy and vibe that just gets the whole team going. What type of vibe does Sam bring? One that gets helmets tossed at him after throwing 3 interceptions.

For the Sam Darnold believers, there are some reasons to think he might start. A big one is Sam’s chemistry with his receivers. Baker hasn’t been here nearly as long as Sam has, so it’s expected for Sam to have developed better chemistry. Another reason is because Sam played average to good in the first 3 games when Christain McCaffrey was healthy. Maybe Sam can play like that all season with McCaffrey, though for what it’s worth I don’t believe he will.

Sam is just simply running off of 1st-round hype. Other quarterbacks that weren’t drafted in the top 5 or even in the first round wouldn’t have a job, much less be a starter at this point.

Although some could argue Baker is running off of the same hype, I have to disagree with you. Baker has had some pretty bad years, but he has also had a few good years. I’m not the biggest believer in either quarterback, though I do believe Baker gives us the best chance to win football games. This simple reason is why I want the Panthers to roll out with Baker. Hopefully, they will win more than 5 games this year. Lastly, I also think Baker will be a much better mentor for our rookie Matt Corral than Sam would.

Who do you want the Panthers to start in week 1?

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