5 biggest surprises from Carolina Panthers first preseason game

(Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports) Phil Hoskins
(Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports) Phil Hoskins /
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Carolina Panthers
(Michael Pemberton/The Indianapolis Star via IMAGN Content Services) P.J. Walker /

Carolina Panthers QB P.J. Walker’s inconsistency

While P.J. Walker was not necessarily a revelation at the quarterback position in relief of Teddy Bridgewater in 2020, there were higher expectations put on the former XFL star coming into this season with another year under his former coach and a more normal offseason program.

A tense battle was blooming for the No. 2 spot during training camp and Walker needed to show that he could be at least serviceable to solidify his position behind Sam Darnold after a strong offseason performance. There was little to be found in this game to instill confidence in that line of thinking.

Walker showed flashes of what he was capable of, namely an impressive scramble away from pressure and a tight window throw on the run to rookie Tommy Tremble in the back of the endzone. But there were also fairly obvious flashes of his floor.

The backup signal-caller converted on only 47 percent of his attempts and had some fairly bad misses when targeting receiver Brandon Zylstra. And while those could be on Walker or timing issues, it still shows a lack of consistency and that is the most important factor for a backup quarterback in the NFL.

Walker also showed a problem with decision-making and progressions at points, not seeing open receivers or just not thinking about the down and distance.

The former Temple standout will need to improve in his next in-game action or the Carolina Panthers may just look outside the organization for a better option.