Five days removed from officially being named the Carolina Panthers’ starting quarterback, Baker Mayfield took the field at Bank of America Stadium for the team’s preseason finale against the Buffalo Bills. There were a few things Mayfield needed to show in his debut to ease the minds of Panthers Nation heading into the regular season opener against the Cleveland Browns. He did that.
Baker played four offensive series – completing 9-15 passes for 89 yards and two touchdowns. During his time on the field, Mayfield showed his ability to effectively go through his reads, convert on third down, extend plays and most importantly, put the ball in the end zone. It wasn’t a perfect outing, but it was something positive the offense can build on as they prepare for week-one.
“I thought Baker did a nice job of moving the football,” head coach Matt Rhule said after the game. “The thing I like about Baker right now is he plays so steady. You can’t tell after every play if it was a drop, or if it was a completion. Then obviously, the touchdown. He played above the X’s and O’s. It wasn’t there. Escaped. Made the play.”
“Some good. Some bad,” Mayfield said when asked to assess his play Friday night. “Overall, a little sloppy – to be honest with you. I feel like my feet were’nt very calm. I felt like I drifted in the pocket a little bit and created my own pressure. There’s room for improvement.”
“I just thought we played complimentary football tonight, which we have been emphasizing,” Baker continued. “We went three-and-out on the first drive, which obviously we didn’t want to do. Then the defense stopped them and we went out and scored on the long drive. Then next drive they get a turnover and we capitalize on that by answering with points. Those are the good parts that we have been emphasizing – playing as a full team and being complimentary on all three phases. I’m happy about that, but just have to go back and fine tune all the little details.
While Baker’s more critical of himself than we are – and he should be – what he put on tape should be enough to give fans hope heading into the season opener against the Browns.