4th string to starter? Panthers QB Walker readies for Rams


CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — P.J. Walker remembers wanting across the Carolina Panthers’ quarterback room at coaching camp and considering it regarded mighty crowded.

He spent a few week mulling over his future, coming to the belief that his possibilities of making the 53-man roster for a 3rd straight season had been slim at finest.

After all, the crew had simply traded for Baker Mayfield, drafted Matt Corral within the third spherical and nonetheless had Sam Darnold, who was not a candidate to be traded given his $18.9 million assured wage.

“There was a lot going through my mind because I felt like I could play,” Walker stated. “I felt like I was good enough to be the backup here.”

Eventually Walker realized there wasn’t a lot he may do about being fourth on the depth chart, so he put his head down and went to work and stopped counting roster numbers.

He performed within the preseason, however wasn’t superb.

But destiny, as soon as once more, intervened and immediately Walker discovered himself again within the No. 2 position after Darnold and Corral went down with accidents within the preseason.

Now the undrafted Walker seems in line to begin Sunday for the Panthers (1-4) in opposition to the defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams (2-3) after Mayfield injured his left ankle in final week’s 37-15 loss to San Francisco 49ers.

Walker took all the reps in Wednesday’s padded observe, whereas Mayfield’s left foot stays in a boot. Interim head coach Steve Wilks hasn’t utterly dominated out Mayfield, however stated he’d need to see him observe first this week to even contemplate it.

This is acquainted territory for Walker, who’s 2-0 because the Panthers’ fill-in beginning quarterback.

In 2020, he led the Panthers to a 20-0 win over the Detroit Lions, regardless of being picked off twice ultimately zone. And final 12 months he helped the Panthers beat the Arizona Cardinals 34-10 in a sport wherein Cam Newton bought the glory after scoring two brief touchdowns.

Wilks stated he’s talked to Walker concerning the significance of not urgent and making an attempt to do an excessive amount of — one thing he is aware of gamers are likely to do when the losses start to pile up.

“We don’t need one guy to go to win the football game,” Wilks stated. “Just do what we ask you to do and execute. If it’s not there, then throw the check-down, and if you’re going to get sacked throw it away.”

Running again Christian McCaffrey stated Walker has what it takes to succeed, calling the 27-year-old QB “cool, calm and collected” within the huddle.

“He’s a pro and he prepares every week like he’s the starter,” McCaffrey stated.

The bar, fairly frankly, is fairly low proper now for Walker.

Mayfield has been brutal this season and ranks close to the underside of virtually each statistical passing class within the league. Carolina’s offense is final within the NFL in yards per sport.

Wilks stated the Panthers received’t change their scheme at this level within the season, however plans to be extra aggressive.

“We aren’t going to sit back and react to the defense,” Wilks stated. “We want to put pressure on them and have them react to us and mix things in whether it’s inside or outside on the perimeter, and then try to go over the top.”

NOTES: Panthers cornerback Jaycee Horn (ribs) was held out of form after leaving Sunday’s sport early. However, security Xavier Woods (hamstring) returned on a restricted foundation and linebacker Frankie Luvu (shoulder) practiced full after each missed the 49ers sport. Wide receiver D.J. Moore was a full participant in observe regardless of carrying a inexperienced jersey. McCaffrey bought his regular day of relaxation on Wednesday.


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