Baker Mayfield, QB (CAR)

Pulling away in QB race

Mayfield has established himself as the Panthers' best option at quarterback during practice this week, Ellis Williams of The Charlotte Observer reports.

Mayfield has garnered positive reviews since joining Carolina, with his performance through training camp thus far increasing the expectation that he'll ultimately be named the team's starting signal-caller over Sam Darnold. Despite having just three weeks with his new coaching staff, Mayfield's command of coordinator Ben McAdoo's offense reportedly already mirrors that of Darnold. Furthermore, with noted chemistry targeting wideouts Rashard Higgins and Robbie Anderson, as well as utilization of go-to playmakers Christian McCaffrey and DJ Moore, the first-string job seems to be Mayfield's to lose. Although coach Matt Rhule isn't expected to officially name a starter until after the second preseason game, Mayfield approaches this Saturday's exhibition opener versus the Commanders with considerable positive momentum.

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Sunday status TBD

Though the Panthers have reportedly been optimistic about McCaffrey playing Sunday against the Cardinals, the running back is expected to test out his thigh injury in pregame warmups to determine his availability for the contest, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com reports.