NFL News and Rumors

Matt Rhule Leaves Door Open for Sam Darnold After Baker Mayfield's Struggles

Larry Rupp
Matt Rhule leaves the door open for Sam Darnold after Baker Mayfield's struggles.
Matt Rhule leaves the door open for Sam Darnold after Baker Mayfield's struggles. / AP Photos/Jacob Kupferman

It's safe to say the Baker Mayfield experiment has not gotten off to the best start in Carolina. The Panthers quarterback has struggled to lead efficient scoring drives and head coach Matt Rhule has started to take notice. He left the door open for Sam Darnold with his postgame comments Sunday.

Carolina Panthers News

During his press conference following a Week 4 loss to the Arizona Cardinals, Rhule was asked about whether or not a switch to Darnold was already in order. The third-year head coach provided a rather vague answer, citing a need to learn about everyone's health before commenting on the situation.

This was one of the first times this season that Rhule did not back Mayfield up as his starter. It was yet another disappointing effort from the fifth-year pro on Sunday as he finished 22-of-36 for 197 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception. His passes were constantly overthrown or batted down.

“Obviously, I know it wasn’t good enough. And I know the numbers aren’t what they need to be—in a lot of different areas."

Rhule on Mayfield's Week 4 performance

The Panthers only mustered 220 total yards against the Cardinals and now rank dead last in the NFL in terms of yards per game (262.3). This team is in desperate need of a spark. Darnold is eligible to be activated from the injured reserve this week as he works his way back from a high-ankle sprain.

The 2022 season has been more of the same for Carolina. The Panthers have now lost 24 straight games when their opponent scores at least 17 points and are 11-26 under the guidance of Rhule. Darnold is not the saving grace, but it's hard to imagine he would be worse than Mayfield right now.

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Larry Rupp is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Larry Rupp also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username phillyfan424. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.