P.J. Walker calls on experience to take QB changes in his stride

(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) P.J. Walker
(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) P.J. Walker /

Carolina Panthers quarterback P.J. Walker has called on previous experience to take another landmark offseason of change in his stride.

This is not P.J. Walker‘s first rodeo when it comes to major changes during the offseason. The quarterback was on the Indianapolis Colts when Andrew Luck sent shockwaves across the league with an early retirement, which makes what’s transpired with the Carolina Panthers in recent weeks look tame in comparison.

The Panthers opted to part ways with Teddy Bridgewater after a disappointing first season under center. Sam Darnold was acquired via trade from the New York Jets, leaving last spring’s marquee free-agent signing being shipped to the Denver Broncos for nothing more than a sixth-round selection.

This was the talk of the town and will remain the focal point that’s going to determine whether Carolina can make further improvements next season. It also affects Walker and Will Grier, who received a blow to their hopes of eventually replacing Bridgewater with any further complications.

Those in power were not going to sit around for that eventuality.

P.J. Walker focusing on improvement with the Carolina Panthers in 2021.

As for Walker, this was just another day at the office.

His previous experience of such landmark upheaval served him well. And besides, focusing on his own game is obviously the top priority heading into training camp.

"“I’ve been part of one of the biggest shocks in football, with Andrew retiring, so this was just another day. There was so much happening, so I just tried to focus on me and doing my work. We know it’s a business at the end of the day. So you know anything can happen. I know that from being in this building, and being in other buildings, day in and day out, you have to be ready for any kind of change. At any point in time, you have to be ready to compete, no matter what. As long as I get to come in the next day and compete, that’s all I want, to show these guys this is why I’m here.”"

Walker has a point. There is no reason to concern yourself with things you cannot control.

The signal-caller has his own problems.

Walker is heading into the final year of his deal and with little chance of securing the No. 1 role barring injury to Darnold, his attention now centers on earning the primary backup job over Grier once again.

This is a position he secured more often than not in 2020. Walker even started during an impressive outing against the Detroit Lions, which left more than one reason to be encouraged despite his lack of experience outside of the XFL.

Things didn’t look nearly as impressive when Walker entered the game for an underperforming Bridgewater in the season finale against the New Orleans Saints. Although it wasn’t exactly the easiest situation to come in and hit the ground running.

Overall, the Panthers can be pleased with Walker’s contribution. He fitted in well – which was to be expected having worked with Matt Rhule before – so there should be more to come with the benefit of preseason reps in the coming weeks.

Darnold is a feast or famine trade acquisition until proven otherwise. The talent might be there, but just what a torrid three years at MetLife Stadium has done to his confidence is a massive red flag only the player himself can overcome.

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Walker will be waiting in the wings, hoping for a chance at some stage. And one thing is for sure, he’ll be expecting the unexpected as always.