Panthers would like to get Sam Darnold “some opportunities”
PJ Walker has started the past five games. He won’t start this week, and he won’t back up Baker Mayfield either.
Walker has a high-ankle sprain that will keep him out of Sunday’s game against the Ravens.
Mayfield will return to the starting lineup for the first time since Week 5, and Sam Darnold will dress for the first time this season.
Darnold’s high-ankle sprain in the preseason kept him out most of the season, but he is not on the injury report anymore.
“I feel really good right now. Obviously still have to do the right things to make sure it stays healthy, but feel really good right now,” Darnold said, via Darin Gantt of the team website. “I ran around a little bit on Thursday night before the game. Felt really good then. I think that was when I was like, OK, I should be good by this next week. Sure enough, today, it felt really good.”
Panthers interim coach Steve Wilks said he would like to get Darnold “some opportunities” since he hasn’t played in a regular-season game since January.
“Well, I think it’s just trying to pick and choose the flow of the game,” Wilks said. “Something that I mentioned to those guys the other day with Baker, if it happens, just giving him warning that I’m not pulling you. I just want to be able to get Sam some opportunities. Because the first time that he goes in there [potentially to start], I don’t want it to be the first time [he’s played this season]. I want to be able to get him acclimated a little bit to the speed of the game.”
But Wilks won’t play Darnold just to play him.
“I’m interested in winning the game,” Wilks said. “Whatever it takes to win the game. It’s not pay $250, and you get to play. We’ll see exactly how it goes this week.”