The Panthers somehow beat the Buccaneers last Sunday without allowing Tom Brady and Co. to score a touchdown. And it’s beginning to look like the 21-3 upset may have cost Baker Mayfield his job. With the Falcons on the schedule this week, interim coach Steve Wilks told members of the media the former No. 1 overall pick took most of the practice squad snaps.
Steve Wilks said Baker Mayfield took most of the scout-team reps and should be available Sun. vs. ATL.
But P.J. Walker took all the first-team reps.
— Joe Person (@josephperson) October 26, 2022
Walker, who was Carolina’s fourth-string quarterback during training camp, outdueled Tom Brady without Robbie Anderson and Christian McCaffrey, who were traded a short time ago. Walker completed 16-of-22 passes for 177 yards and two touchdowns with Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold sidelined with injuries.
The former of which is near a return. It’s the first week Mayfield is healthy enough to get back on the field, but Walker’s performance is likely keeping Mayfield on the sidelines.
“P.J. had an outstanding performance,” Wilks said via the team’s website. “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.”
It’s not even like Walker was transcendent or anything on Sunday, but anything is better than what Mayfield was giving the team. It was supposed to be his bounce-back season, his revenge tour, his road to retribution. Instead, he’s just been dreadful, struggling to execute — looking like the worst version of himself.
If I’m the Falcons, I’d rather face Mayfield. His ceiling as a passer is undoubtedly higher than Walker’s, but he’s more prone to commit a couple of turnovers and is an absolute statue in the pocket. Walker’s mobility makes him much more challenging to defend. Still, facing a former XFL signal caller shouldn’t be too daunting of a task for the Falcons. Atlanta is certainly shorthanded in their secondary, but they are still favorites against Carolina.