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An oral history of the day the Panthers were without a backup QB

Posted Nov 20, 2017

Former NFL quarterback Ken Dorsey came to the rescue – much to the dismay of Carolina's punter.

CHARLOTTE – Derek Anderson and Garrett Gilbert each missed practice Monday, leaving Cam Newton as the only quarterback. That also left the Panthers with a problem. 

They didn't want Newton taking extra reps with the scout team. 

You won't believe what happened next. 

Head coach Ron Rivera: “(Anderson and Gilbert are) both sick and unfortunately a little contagious so we sent them home. We didn't want them to spread anything to anybody.” 

Punter Michael Palardy, who as a freshman and sophomore at Florida powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas High played kicker and quarterback: “I have a little Drew Brees in me. I've got the size, I've got the frame for it. Why not, right?” (Palardy is 5-foot-11, 200 pounds; Brees is 6-0, 209). 

Long snapper J.J. Jansen: “He was ready to renegotiate at the quarterback franchise tag level. He had some Gatorade commercials already lined up.”

Palardy: “(Assistant quarterbacks coach) Cam Turner came up to me and he was like, ‘Hey, are you ready for your time to shine?’ … "And I was like, ‘Oh, obviously! I'm ready; I'm the guy, let's do it.’” 

Jansen: “Why was I acting as his hype man? Agent gets three percent. That's important to remember.”

Palardy: “Ron came over and just solidified it and was like, ‘Hey, this is period five. Be ready. This is what we're doing – you've got nine passes.’ And I (dropped) the helmet, started doing three-step drops, five-step drops, slinging the thing and I was ready to go. … Then (Rivera) came over and crushed me. Just crushed me.”

Rivera: “He was over there warming up and I said, ‘Are you kidding?’ Kick. That's all we ask. Kick.”

Palardy: “I was distraught. It was like somebody ripped my heart out and stepped on it.”

Rivera: “We had to reactivate (former NFL quarterback-turned-quarterbacks coach) Ken Dorsey. He had to play scout team quarterback for us. We figured it was safer than having Palardy do it. We figured Kenny's expendable and Palardy's a little more valuable to have somebody (accidentally) run into.”

Safety Kurt Coleman: “(Dorsey) gave us a great look. He's shaking off a little rust, but I'll tell you what – he was slinging it around a little bit. He's got a little juice to him and he commanded the huddle.”

Rivera: “His first throw was intercepted, so that was a good thing. I'd hate to see him complete a bunch of balls.”

Palardy: “I didn't want to have to go 9-for-9 on passes, though. So the defense lucked out for sure.”

(Dorsey was not immediately available for comment on this story.)