CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Baker Mayfield admits there have been occasions the previous month when he has puzzled whether or not he would get one other likelihood to start out for the Carolina Panthers and what that might imply for his future as a quarterback within the NFL.
The primary choose of the 2018 draft additionally insists his future is not what the chance to start out Sunday towards the Baltimore Ravens (6-3) is about.
“It is fairly essential to win, contemplating we’re nonetheless in a division race,” Mayfield mentioned Wednesday. “That is the place I am at. I am not nervous about every thing else. It’s going to handle itself so long as I do my job. We’ll see the place it goes.”
Interim coach Steve Wilks named Mayfield the starter on Monday after an MRI decided PJ Walker had suffered a excessive ankle sprain in Thursday evening’s 25-15 victory over the Atlanta Falcons that left Carolina (3-7) solely two video games again of Tampa Bay (5-5) within the NFC South.
Will probably be Mayfield’s first begin since a Week 5 loss to the San Francisco 49ers by which he was changed by Walker due to a excessive ankle sprain. He has remained Walker’s backup the previous 4 video games regardless of being wholesome sufficient to play.
Mayfield, within the final yr of his rookie contract, mentioned Sunday is not about getting the beginning job again full time.
“I am simply attempting to win,” he mentioned. “I am not nervous about it being my job, quote unquote. I do know what I am able to. This workforce does as effectively. I will go on the market totally assured and able to win.”
Wilks mentioned Mayfield appeared good in Wednesday’s follow, however “nothing excessive.” He mentioned consistency is what he is on the lookout for from Mayfield on Sunday, and mentioned he believes Carolina’s dedication to the run the previous 5 video games ought to assist the quarterback accomplish that.
Carolina has averaged 29.8 rushes per recreation and 146.2 yards speeding beneath Wilks, in contrast with 20.6 rushes per recreation and 89.8 speeding yards the primary 5 video games beneath former coach Matt Rhule when Mayfield was the starter.
“It is actually taking the strain off anyone that is taking part in quarterback,” Wilks mentioned of the run recreation. “They do not have to actually sit again there and attempt to win the sport for us. We will attempt to set up what we do up entrance and provides him a clear pocket when he tries to push the ball downfield.”
Mayfield had a Complete Quarterback Score of 15.3, the bottom within the NFL and the bottom over a five-game span since ESPN started utilizing the statistic in 2006, throughout a 1-4 begin.
He was sacked 15 occasions — Walker has been sacked 5 occasions the previous 5 video games — and was on his method to profession lows in nearly each statistical class earlier than being changed.
“We have simply discovered our id as time has gone on,” Mayfield mentioned of the offense.
Mayfield’s solely taking part in time the previous 5 weeks got here within the second half of a Nov. 6 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals by which Carolina trailed 35-0 within the first half with Walker throwing two interceptions and recording a 0.0 passer score.
Mayfield accomplished 14 of 20 go makes an attempt for 155 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions towards the Bengals for a season-high 83.4 Complete QBR.
That also wasn’t sufficient for Mayfield to regain the beginning job for Thursday evening’s recreation towards Atlanta, and Mayfield was all proper with that regardless that, as a competitor, he hoped for an additional likelihood then.
“The workforce misplaced,” Mayfield mentioned of the Cincinnati recreation. “That is what I mentioned after the sport and that held true after watching the movie. It is simple to level fingers, however we got here again the subsequent week and battled and bought the win.”
Mayfield did not play a snap Thursday evening, however he did get consideration when his helmetless head-butts with most of the offensive line celebrating the victory was caught on video.
“I’ve at all times accomplished that,” Mayfield mentioned with a smile. “It simply occurred to get caught on digicam. I’ve accomplished that since school. I really like this recreation. I really like my teammates. We work too arduous to not take pleasure in it. head-butt each on occasion goes a great distance.”
displaying reverse 2019 NFL MVP Lamar Jackson, chosen with the final choose within the first spherical of the 2018 draft by Baltimore, additionally might go a great distance for Mayfield. He is aware of that if he struggles, Sam Darnold, the No. 3 choose in 2018, shall be ready within the wings.
Wilks mentioned he’d wish to get Darnold, who started the season on injured reserve with a excessive ankle sprain, some taking part in time earlier than he offers him one other likelihood to start out after shedding the job to Mayfield in coaching camp.
“I would not name it strain,” Mayfield mentioned of his scenario. “I at all times really feel actually accountable to place us in place to win. That is my job. You contact the ball each single play, you have got a huge impact on that. With the ability to put us in that place is a giant accountability, and I take pleasure in that.
“I put loads of that on myself, however it’s not strain.”