After a first day of training camp where one quarterback clearly outclassed the other, the second day brought a more mixed bag for both.
Baker Mayfield, who played with the No. 1 group today, and Sam Darnold, who ran with No. 2, both threw foul passes that jumped out of the hands of the defenders. The two had some good moments as they vie for the team’s starting quarterback job.
Let’s delve deeper into their performance.
7-on-7. statistics in (informal): 11 for 16, 5 td
The Mayfield quarterback crisply threw a first-team group of DJ Moore, Robbie Anderson, CJ Saunders, Ian Thomas and Christian McCaffrey. He made faster decisions and was more accurate with the ball when there were no obvious communication errors.
His first four reps were choppy. He attempted a back-shoulder pass to Anderson on his second throw, but Anderson ran deep while cornerback Donnett Jackson followed Mayfield’s eye and jumped out of the way. Jackson intercepted the pass almost midway but lost control on the ground.
Mayfield made a questionable decision on the next play, throwing a corner way to Moore, which Jackson jumped again and nearly stopped. But Mayfield got a slot after that. He completed nine of his next 12 passes, and five of those were full touchdowns.
His fierce but controlled throwing pace helped him squeeze a red-zone touchdown to Moore. The star receiver ran a spot route, settled and sat between a linebacker and a nickel corner. Mayfield, unaware of a possible interception, threw the ball inside.
The Browns’ former receiver Rashard Higgins caught two touchdowns from Mayfield, rekindling his old Cleveland flame. Higgins scored a red-zone slant from the slot, pushing his defender out of line. Mayfield quickly looked to number 17 and pushed him to pay the dirt.
Mayfield’s nine attempts were on the left side of the field.
Best Throw: During the Inside Run session, Mayfield connected with a deep 30-yard play-action bootleg pass from Moore. From down the center, Mayfield fakes the handoff and boots to the right. He ran to the shore, gaining depth to avoid the oncoming rushers. As Moore defeated his defender, in what Madden players know as the “corner-strike” route, Mayfield launched an arcing throw. Moore swings the left hip open, extends for the ball near the edge and takes the catch with both feet in.
Notable mistake: Mayfield’s back-to-back near interceptions are worrying. This is a training camp. There must be mistakes. But looking at his turnover history, Mayfield cannot continue to bowl to Panthers defenders.
Stats at 7-on-7 (Unofficial): 12 for 16
Once again Darnold kept the ball short. He rarely threw passes longer than 5 yards, instead favoring routes below his pass-catching group. That’s what he did on the first day of camp.
After Wednesday’s practice, head coach Matt Roulette said those short passes are likely due to the team’s defensive quarter plan and that as practice progresses, quarterbacks will begin to see different coverage.
Darnold didn’t throw a touchdown because Roulette allocated every single red-zone snap to the No. 1 group (he did the same on Wednesday when Darnold took a first-team rep).
“We haven’t really been involved in our red-zone day installs,” Roulette said. He said the team would devote more time to the final 20 yards as it progressed into camp.
Best Throw: Once Darnold pushed the ball down the field, he threw a back-shoulder ball down the left side to un-drafted free agent Derek Wright, who made an easy catch for first-down yards.
Notable mistake: In a play similar to his big mistake on Wednesday, Darnold rolled to his right at 11-on-11 and tried to throw a ball to the edge of the right-hand side that bounced off the hands of a cornerback.
Who won the day: Mayfield had five touchdowns on Thursday, just as Darnold did on Wednesday. But his ability to make plays on the perimeter and fit a few throws into tight windows won him the day.
won the day