Carolina Panthers' QB Battle Heats Up Ahead of Training Camp

Author Image Article By
Last Updated: 
Share On Your Network
Carolina Panthers' QB Battle Heats Up Ahead of Training Camp
© USA Today

Scorching temperatures that could border on triple digits this weekend aren’t the only hot topic in North Carolina.

The Carolina Panthers' quarterback battle also is generating heat. 

The unanswered question is whether newcomer Baker Mayfield or last season’s opening starter, Sam Darnold, will be under center when the 2022-23 season gets underway.

The Panthers kick off the new season with a Sept. 11 home game in Charlotte against Mayfield’s former team, the Cleveland Browns. Carolina is a one-point underdog at Caesars Sportsbook. 

Two quarterbacks are waiting in the wings — former Temple standout P.J. Walker and rookie Matt Corral from Ole Miss.

In a league where success is heavily dependent upon quarterback play, the Panthers’ choice to lead the team will determine everything from win totals to sports betting odds.

Bad Outcomes

The Panthers open their training camp a week from Wednesday at Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina. 

The team will break camp almost two weeks later for the Aug. 13 preseason opener on the road against the Washington Commanders. Carolina is a two-point underdog at Caesars Sportsbook.

By then, the quarterback situation might be more clear.

RELATED: NFL Training Camp Locations and Dates

Some think Darnold, a 6-foot-3, 225-pound veteran from Southern Cal, has the inside track.

Last season, Darnold got off to a roaring start, leading the Panthers to three wins in a row with victories over the New York Jets, New Orleans Saints and Houston Texans.

Then things fell apart. 

Injuries to star running back Christian McCaffrey and key offensive linemen — and to Darnold himself — resulted in a string of tough outcomes and lopsided losses. The Panthers won only two of their last 14 games. 

An effort to reclaim some of Cam Newton’s magic by bringing him back faltered, with the former high-profile quarterback throwing more interceptions (five) than touchdowns (4). 

The Panthers lost their final seven games to finish 5-12.

Fresh Start 

Mayfield’s trajectory wasn’t much better. After four seasons of unfulfilled promise, the Browns finally gave up on the former No. 1 draft pick. 

A Heisman Trophy winner at Oklahoma, Mayfield played much of last season with an injury to his non-throwing shoulder. With Mayfield taking many of the snaps in Cleveland, and backup Case Keenum seeing action, the Browns sputtered to an 8-9 record.

Mayfield’s supporters aren’t giving up hope, however, noting that a new setting has been known to jump-start careers.

Whichever quarterback emerges from camp as the starter, fans and bettors will be eyeing other factors that could lead to positive NFL betting results. 

At the top of that list is a healthy McCaffrey and a revamped offensive line. The team’s first pick in this year’s NFL draft was offensive tackle Ikem Ekwonu, a 6-foot-4, 320-pound bruiser from North Carolina State.

NFC South Odds

With training camp a little more than a week away, below are the odds on the Panthers and other NFC South teams’ chances of winning this season’s Super Bowl. The odds are provided by FanDuel Sportsbook.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers +750

New Orleans Saints +4000

Carolina Panthers +10000

Atlanta Falcons +25000

Author Image Article By
Last Updated: 
Facebook Icon Twitter Icon Linkedin Icon Email Icon Copy Link Icon