The 2022 season could not have gotten off to a worse start for the Carolina Panthers. They have been right in both games that they have played, but have come up short each time, leading to an 0-2 record.
In Week 1, Baker Mayfield was playing against his former team, the Cleveland Browns. Despite some early struggles, he had his team in a position to win the game at the end, but rookie kicker Cade York knocked a 58-yard field goal through the uprights for the win.
In Week 2, the Panthers went on the road to face the New York Giants. It was another nail-biter, as they lost the game 19-16. Had they executed better in a few spots, such as a dropped interception that would have certainly gone for a touchdown, the game could have turned out differently.
Knowing the odds are stacked against them, it wouldn’t surprise anyone if the Panthers went into a little bit of a panic mode. But, Mayfield doesn’t believe that is the case. Despite the uncertainty surrounding so many, the team has kept its regular sense of urgency to win but has not gone into panic mode.
“Each week you need to have a sense of urgency to win,” Mayfield said at a press conference. “The no-panic mindset comes from the fact that we are just now going into our first division game. . . . Nobody’s hitting the panic button yet. It also helps that we’ve lost by a total of five points.”
Spinning the deficit of defeat into a positive thing is certainly a good leadership tactic by Mayfield. Yes, the team has been close in both games, but that also speaks volumes about the team failing to execute when they need to most to pull out a close victory.
Head coach Matt Rhule has arguably the hottest seat in the NFL and needs to string some wins together to save his job. Mayfield is also playing for his next contract as he is going to be a free agent in 2023.
With so much on the line, Carolina needs to turn things around soon or there could be some changes on the horizon to the coaching staff and lineup.