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Carolina Panthers

Sam Darnold to start, PJ Walker to back up against Seahawks

Sam Darnold, PJ Walker

CHARLOTTE — The Panthers have made another change to the quarterback depth chart.

Interim coach Steve Wilks has decided to stick with Sam Darnold as his starter this week against the Seahawks and for PJ Walker to be his backup.

The move seemed to be in the cards once Darnold replaced Baker Mayfield in the starting lineup against the Broncos in the final game before the bye. Mayfield was his backup that day, but with Walker healthy again after the weekend off, they made the switch, and Wilks told the quarterbacks Monday morning.

Darnold's coming off a solid day against the Broncos, throwing for a clean 164 yards with no turnovers and a touchdown. He also rolled in for what was counted as a rushing touchdown after he picked up a fumble.

Other than his disastrous first half against the Bengals (two interceptions, 9 passing yards), Walker played solidly in his five-game stint as a starter, beating the Buccaneers and the Falcons here.

The demotion is another unexpected turn in what has been a season of them for Mayfield.

The Panthers traded a conditional 2024 fifth-rounder to the Browns in July for the rights to the former No. 1 overall pick. That pick could have become a fourth-rounder in 2024 if he'd played 70 percent of the snaps, but he hasn't approached that. Nor did he play to the level anyone expected, after he won the competition for the starting job in training camp.

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