Baker Mayfield has a lot less time to think about his second game as the Panthers starting quarterback than he did his first outing in the job and that suits him just fine.
That first game was against the Browns, which meant a lot of questions for Mayfield about facing the team that made him the first overall pick of the 2018 draft and then traded him to Carolina after acquiring Deshaun Watson this offseason. The Panthers were flat to open that game, but rallied to take a lead in the fourth quarter before losing 26-24 on a field goal in the final seconds.
On Wednesday, Mayfield said that “everybody made this out to be the Super Bowl” before noting that there are 16 more games on the team’s schedule. He went on to say that he’s happy to be focusing on other things heading into this weekend’s game against the Giants.
“In terms of distractions and specific questions, yeah, just to get back into a routine,” Mayfield said, via Darin Gantt of the team’s website. “That goes for Week Two of any year and the anticipation leading up to the opener. No matter who you’re playing, there are going to be a ton of questions about all the changes in the offseason, the schemes, the players, and new faces. It’s just a matter of how you handle it, how you learn from Week One to Week Two. It can be your biggest jump of the year, and you can learn from those mistakes; the great teams and franchises learn from that, they improve, and they continue to push forward, realizing it’s a long season ahead.”
Overreactions to Week One aren’t hard to find even when games don’t involve the emotional attachments of last Sunday’s Browns-Panthers matchup, so Carolina isn’t the only team trying to show that their season still holds promise. A bad outing against the Giants will make that a tougher sell and that should allow the Panthers to fill any motivation gap that might exist this week.