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Walker to start at QB vs Rams; Mayfield could be backup


CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — P.J. Walker will start at quarterback for the Carolina Panthers on Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams, but interim head coach Steve Wilks is hopeful Baker Mayfield will serve as his backup.

Mayfield hasn’t practiced all week because of a high ankle sprain and is listed as doubtful. The team is awaiting a final MRI before making a decision on whether to activate him.

Mayfield attended practice Friday but didn’t participate. However, Wilks said Mayfield had a “great workout” with trainers before practice.

“They took him through a very intense workout — good movement, change of direction and really trying to put some pressure on his ankle,” Wilks said. “He threw the ball well. He’s a very tough guy. We will wait and see the final report on the MRI.”

Jacob Eason could be called up from the practice squad to serve as the No. 2 QB if the Panthers decide not to activate Mayfield this week.

Walker is 2-0 as an NFL starter, winning games in 2020 and 2021 for the Panthers, but he has only completed 57% of his passes with eight interceptions and two touchdown passes.

Mayfield has struggled this season, going 1-4 as a starter and he ranks near the bottom of nearly every statistical passing category in the league.

Carolina’s other quarterbacks, Sam Darnold and Matt Corral, are on injured reserve. Corral is out for the season.

Wilks said cornerback Jaycee Horn (ribs) is unlikely to play this week, but he expects that cornerbacks Donte Jackson (ankle) and C.J. Henderson (knee) will play despite not practicing Friday and being listed as questionable.

Wide receiver Laviska Shenault has been ruled out again with a hamstring injury. Wide receiver Robbie Anderson (illness) did not practice Friday and was added to the injury report as questionable.


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