Following Thursday night’s win against the Atlanta Falcons, the Carolina Panthers are a respectable 2-4 under interim head coach Steve Wilks. Since taking over the job for the fired Matt Rhule, Wilks has rolled out quarterback PJ Walker as his quarterback part-way through Week 5 despite having former first-overall pick Baker Mayfield on the roster. However, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, Wilks is sticking to his guns, and Walker will likely remain the starter for Week 11’s game against the Baltimore Ravens.
The Panthers have struggled to replace their long-time signal-caller Cam Newton since moving on from him ahead of the 2020 season, cycling through such players as Teddy Bridgewater and Sam Darnold, including even bringing Newton back briefly last year. When the Panthers traded for Mayfield over the summer, the goal was for the former Heisman Trophy winner to turn the franchise’s fortunes around. After all, Mayfield led the Cleveland Browns to their first postseason win since 1994 in the 2020 season. Unfortunately, Mayfield’s run as the starter has turned out to be a brief one for now.
In six games (five starts) this season, Mayfield has thrown for 1117 yards with six touchdowns and four interceptions. While the raw numbers don’t seem too bad, Mayfield’s QBR (16.9) ranks dead last among quarterbacks in the 2022 NFL season, according to Pro Football Reference. Conversely, Walker has not been a ton better, tossing 731 passing yards with three touchdowns and interceptions apiece.
Regardless, the Panthers have won more games with Walker than Mayfield, and it seems Wilks and company are rolling with what’s been working until the wheels come off. So will PJ Walker continue to perform in Week 11 and keep Baker Mayfield on the bench?