During a 25-3 loss to the New York Giants on Sunday, the Carolina Panthers benched starting quarterback Sam Darnold. PJ Walker, the unofficial MVP for the XFL’s 2020 campaign, got a few snaps in the fourth quarter.
Walker finished the day completing just 3 of 14 passes for 33 yards. He also had a single rush attempt for 13 yards. It certainly wasn’t anything exciting, but it might not be the last time that Walker takes the field this season.
The Panthers started off great, going undefeated through their first three games. The defense was on a historic pace (specifically for the amount of rushing yards allowed), and Darnold looked like a completely different player under a new coaching staff. However, things started to fall apart in week 4, and there are now plenty of questions regarding the team’s stability.
In a post-game press conference, Panthers head coach Matt Rhule claimed that Darnold was still the QB1 despite a disappointing performance. It makes sense for him to say that, as he likely had a role in the trade that brought Darnold over from the New York Jets last offseason. However, Rhule is more familiar with his backup, as he coached Walker during his days at Temple University.
The situation is certainly one to monitor, because if Darnold continues to play poorly, Walker may get a legitimate shot at being an NFL starter.
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