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Panthers start Baker Mayfield at QB with injured PJ Walker

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CHARLOTTE, NC – Quarterback Baker Mayfield will return to the beginning lineup for the Carolina Panthers on Sunday after an MRI taken over the weekend revealed that PJ Walker suffered a sprained ankle in Thursday evening’s win over the Atlanta Falcons.

Sam Darnold, who misplaced open competitors to Mayfield as a starter throughout coaching camp, would be the backup for the Week 11 recreation in opposition to the Baltimore Ravens.

This might be Mayfield’s first begin since struggling a sprained ankle in a Week 5 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. He was changed by Walker the next week in opposition to the Los Angeles Rams and remained a backup for the ultimate 4 video games regardless of being wholesome sufficient to play.

Mayfield’s solely taking part in time final month got here within the second half of a 35-17 loss on the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 7, during which he led three scoring drives, making 14 of 20 passes for 155 yards and two touchdowns.

Mayfield struggled to a QBR whole of 15.3 throughout a 1–4 begin that was the NFL’s lowest this season and worst since ESPN began utilizing the stat in 2006. He had 4 interceptions and 4 landing passes. throughout this era.

Interim head coach Steve Wilks mentioned the very first thing Mayfield has to do in opposition to the Ravens is “defend the soccer”.

Having an ongoing recreation led by D’Onta Foreman ought to take a few of the strain off of Mayfield, who was the #1 total choose of the 2018 NFL draft. The Panthers rushed for a season-high 232 yards in opposition to Atlanta and have averaged 159.5 yards within the final 4 video games since buying and selling star Christian McCaffrey to the San Francisco 49ers. They averaged 89.9 yards speeding within the first few video games with Mayfield beginning.

“All the pieces begins on the entrance,” mentioned Wilks, who has been dedicated to working since Matt Rhule was fired after a 1-4 begin. who do an awesome job of giving him a clear pocket so he can undergo his progressions and get the ball upfield.”

With Darnold returning final week from injured reserve and Walker taking part in nicely, the Panthers have been taking a look at each quarterback possibility, together with a doable launch of Mayfield, based on a league supply.

Walker went 2-3 as a starter, together with Thursday evening’s 25-15 victory over the Falcons that stored Carolina (3-7) an element within the NFC South, which is led by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-5). . He suffered the harm within the fourth quarter, but it surely was by no means reported as a result of, as Wilks put it, Walker “took it and performed by it”.

Wilks didn’t put any timelines on the harm, saying solely that Walker wouldn’t go on injured reserve.

“A sprained ankle limits his mobility…so we’ll let him sit this week and go along with Baker,” Wilks mentioned.

Mayfield has loads of expertise going through the Ravens after spending his first 4 seasons within the NFL with the Cleveland Browns within the AFC North earlier than being traded to Carolina in July.

Of their eight video games in opposition to Baltimore, the Browns went 3-5, with an 83.2 passing score, throwing 13 landing passes and 9 interceptions.

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