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Is Baker Mayfield to blame for Carolina Panthers’ 0-2 start?

Baker isn’t cooking quite yet. 

The Carolina Panthers are 0-2 in the young 2022 NFL season, and new quarterback Baker Mayfield is struggling to get his charge going.

Furthermore, this week, Sports Illustrated slotted the Panthers 32nd in its weekly NFL power rankings, which comes after a 26-24 home loss to the Cleveland Browns and a 19-16 road loss to the New York Giants

Across the team’s first two games, Mayfield has totaled 380 passing yards, two passing touchdowns, one interception and a 79.5 quarterback rating, completing 53.6% of his throws. He has also totaled 41 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown.

Shannon Sharpe, cohost of “Undisputed,” contended on Wednesday that Mayfield’s monotonous play is the latest evidence for how the quarterback isn’t a difference-maker.

“[Mayfield] is not exponentially better than Sam Darnold,” Sharpe said. “This is what they were last year. Last year they averaged 18 points a game. They were 30th in yards, 29th in passing yards, 29th on third down. This year they’re averaging 20 points a game — two points more. They’re 28th, as opposed to 30th in total yards. They’re 30th in passing yards. Last year they were 29th. And they’re 29th last year and this year on third down.”

“He’s a JAG — just another guy,” Sharpe later said about Mayfield.

Is Baker Mayfield to blame for Panthers 0-2 start?

Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe look at the Panthers’ rocky start to the new season, with Baker Mayfield now at the helm.

On the other hand, Skip Bayless sees the Panthers’ two down-to-the-wire losses as reason to not give up on their season, specifically their Week 1 loss to the Browns.

“This is how lucky you were — Baker Mayfield put on a show in Game 1 against his ex-team, the Browns,” Bayless said to Sharpe. “He threw for 155 yards in the fourth quarter alone, and they roared back thanks to Baker Mayfield — Baker, Baker, touchdown maker — to a 24-23 lead over the Browns with 1:12 left.”

Carolina acquired Mayfield from the Browns in July for a 2024 conditional fifth-round draft pick. He was Cleveland’s primary quarterback from 2018-2021. Concerning the rest of the Panthers’ quarterback room, Darnold is on injured reserve with an ankle injury and rookie Matt Corral suffered a season-ending Lisfranc injury in August.

This is the fourth consecutive season that the Panthers had a new quarterback under center in Week 1 (Mayfield, Darnold, Teddy Bridgewater and Cam Newton). Robbie Anderson is the team’s leading receiver with eight receptions, 134 receiving yards and one receiving touchdown this season.

Carolina has lost its last nine games dating back to the 2021 season. Matt Rhule is in his third season as head coach. They’re 10-25 under Rhule.

The Panthers host the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.

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