Well, for the 3rd year in a row, XFL fans will be blessed. Come Sunday it appears PJ Walker will once again be asked to shoulder the load for the Carolina Panthers, as Baker Mayfield is currently walking around in a boot. However, this time PJ will be without college coach Matt Rhule who has recently been fired and will have his perfect pro record of 7-0 (2-0 NFL, 5-0 XFL) in jeopardy as the Panthers face a Rams team who recently lost to another perfect QB Cooper Rush during their week 5 matchup.
Walker’s story at this point seems like annual tale we tell amongst XFL enthusiast and NFL casual fans. The undrafted XFL MVP, was originally a Matt Rhule Prodigy from Temple who latched on with the Colts in 2017 and would bounce back and forth between their practice squad until 2019. Originally, an afterthought in the NFL, Walker had a friend in Andrew Luck who prompted his father then Commissioner and CEO Oliver Luck to take a chance on his son’s past teammate and well the rest is history.
Walker would burst on to the XFL scene when given an opportunity. With June Jones, he was easily the best QB in the XFL, with many calling the MVP of the XFL. Walker led the Houston Roughnecks to a 5-0 record, while leading the XFL in Passing Yards (1,338) and Touchdowns (15). Unfortunately, just as quickly as the Walker and the XFL came, a pandemic would wipe away one of the most dynamic and fun players fans began to fell in love with.
Luckily for fans of Walker, he found a home with the Carolina Panthers over the last three seasons. Though not always pretty, Walker has managed to put together a 2-0 record as a starter in spot duty during the 2020 and 2021 NFL season. Despite his team success Walker’s personal stats have been less than stellar.
With a Touchdown to interception ratio of 2:8, and a completion percentage of 57%, Walker hasn’t exactly lit up the NFL often times being slightly overwhelmed. But regardless he’s gotten the job done and in his lone appeared this season did manage to go 5/6 for 60 yards which equates to a 108.3 passer rating. Moving forward though Walker certainly faces an uphill battle.
One thing is for certain with Matt Rhule gone, Walker seems to have lost his biggest champion/supporter in the Panthers building. For not just Walker, all the Panthers Quarterbacks are probably on notice as new coaching regime will bring in change in all aspects of the organization, however Walker is in a unique position to control his faith in the next couple weeks.
With Mayfield in a walking boot, Darnold and Corral on injured reserve, Walker is front and center in the spotlight to not only showcase his skills for the Panthers but the whole NFL. Hopefully for PJ fans he takes full advantage of it, if not there are a lot of people in Houston and may be one person in Seattle who’d be excited to see him return to the XFL.
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