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Arthur Smith: I can see the belief Carolina has in P.J. Walker

From Justin Fields taking on the Cowboys defense to Mike McDaniel squaring up against Dan Campbell, Mike Florio and Chris Simms dive into key matchups for Week 8.

The Panthers look like they’ve found a spark in quarterback P.J. Walker, who interim head coach Steve Wilks said would remain the starter this week.

That means Falcons head coach Arthur Smith and the rest of his staff have to prepare to face Walker — a quarterback there isn’t too much film on.

“You’ve got a few games on them, played a little bit against us last year,” Smith said in his Wednesday press conference. “You can see what his strengths are, he’s a good player, he’s tough, and I like the way he plays. I’ve got a lot of respect for him. I think he’s not afraid to push the ball down the field or play in the pocket, and I can see the belief they have in him.

“That’s just like anything when you’re preparing for week two or three in the season, and you may only have one game and that’s the way it goes. But they are starting to form an identity, you can see what Steve [Wilks] is trying to emphasize at least from the outside looking in and we know it’s going to be a tough challenge on Sunday with a divisional game here.”

Walker was on the field for 16 offensive snaps in Atlanta’s Week 14 victory over Carolina last season. He was 6-of-12 passing for 75 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

In last week’s victory over Tampa Bay, Walker was 16-of-22 passing for 177 yards with two touchdowns.