The Panthers are making yet another change at quarterback.
Sam Darnold will be the starter for Carolina’s Week 12 game against the Denver Broncos on Sunday, the team announced Tuesday, making him the third quarterback to make a start for the team this season.
Darnold was the Panthers’ starter for the majority of the 2021 season, but coming into 2022 there was a full-on quarterback battle between him as the incumbent starter and offseason acquisition Baker Mayfield. Darnold lost that battle during the preseason, and to add injury to insult, suffered a high ankle sprain in the preseason finale that landed him on injured reserve.
Inconsistency has continued in the Panthers QB room despite the change. Mayfield did not perform as expected early in the season, going 1-4 before he too suffered a high ankle sprain and was replaced. P.J. Walker, who had started the year as the No. 3 QB, took over in Week 6 and went 2-3 in a five-game span that included a 21-3 win over the Buccaneers, but also suffered a 42-21 loss to the Bengals in which Walker was benched in the second half.
Darnold was activated from injured reserve after that Week 9 loss, but despite him and Mayfield both being healthy, Walker still got the Week 10 start versus the Falcons. Walker sustained a high ankle sprain of his own in that game and has been sidelined since.
With Walker out, Mayfield retook his starting spot last Sunday but did not perform well in a loss to the Ravens, throwing two late interceptions and putting only three points on the board. So now Carolina has come full circle and turned back to Darnold to start in Week 12, hoping this will be the right move to turn things around for the 3-8 squad.
Amid injuries and subpar play from his colleagues, Darnold is getting another chance to take the reins of the Panthers offense, but we’ll have to wait and see whether the QB change is enough to get Carolina back in the win column against the similarly struggling Broncos (3-7).
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