The Carolina Panthers entered Week 7 facing a grim quarterback situation, but backup quarterback P. J. Walker managed a shocking upset over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday that could keep his name in the mix when Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold make their return.
Walker threw 177 yards and two touchdowns for Carolina, who beat the struggling Bucs 21-3 in a shocking divisional game upset. After the much-needed win, interim head coach Steve Wilks told reporters it would be “hard” to pull Walker from the starting job once Mayfield and Darnold return.
“P. J. had an outstanding performance. When you look at what he did today – still have to evaluate the tape – it’s going to be hard to try to pull him out,” Wilks said.
PANTHERS’ STEVE WILKS NONCOMMITTAL ON BAKER MAYFIELD AS STARTING QUARTERBACK: ‘I CAN’T GIVE YOU THAT ANSWER’
“Our focus was to do exactly what we did, regardless of who was in there, which really [was] trying to spread it out a bit and push the ball down the field – which I thought P. J. did a great job today.”
Both Mayfield and Daronold are out with high ankle sprains, but both could be available for another divisional game against the Atlanta Falcons.
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Wilks was noncommittal last week when asked if the starting job would be Mayfield’s once healthy again.
“I can’t give you that answer,” Wilks said bluntly. “But I can tell you right now those guys [in the quarterback room] are going to compete at that position just as well as other positions to see who exactly goes out there on Sunday.”
Walker said he is not focussed on proving himself as a starter, but he is focused on the game.
“No, I just went out there and played my game, executed what we called, moved the ball down the field efficiently,” he said. “That’s not my call. My call is to get ready to work Monday. … Whether it’s to start, back up, whatever it is, I’ll be ready.”