Wilkes isn’t sure who the Panthers starting QB vs Broncos will be

Another week, another quarterback mystery for Carolina Panthers interim head coach Steve Wilkes. Wilkes said he’ll wait until Wednesday to decide who starts Sunday against the Denver Broncos, considering Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold and BJ Walker.

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (AP) — Another week, another quarterback mystery for Carolina Panthers interim head coach Steve Wilkes.

Wilkes said he’ll wait until Wednesday to decide who starts Sunday against the Denver Broncos, considering Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold and BJ Walker.

“I want to be able to go into a little more assessment on Denver’s defense and determine who gives us the best chance of winning that football game,” Wilkes said Monday.

Mayfield, the top overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, is coming off another poor performance Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens, completing 21 of 33 passes for 196 yards with two interceptions while failing to lead the Panthers to a touchdown.

He is a 1-5 starter for the team.

“It’s an abomination, to be honest with you,” said Mayfield. “Get us ready. I felt like the game plan, everything was set. We just didn’t execute. It’s hard, I’ll be honest with you. I put my heart and soul into this.”

Wilkes previously said he wanted to see Darnold play some in a game before starting it, so he might wait until Wednesday mostly to clarify Walker’s condition. Walker missed Sunday’s game with an ankle injury. Walker is “working his way back,” said Wilkes.

“He could play based on what I got from the coaching staff on Wednesday,” said Wilkes.

what to do

Run the defense. The Panthers’ run defense has come a long way since it allowed the Cincinnati Bengals to rush for 241 yards and five touchdowns three weeks ago. Carolina limited Baltimore to 115 yards on the ground, snapping the Ravens’ streak of eight consecutive games with at least 150 yards rushing.

“I like the way the defense is played,” said Wilkes. “He gave us an opportunity and an opportunity.”

What needs help

Third down offense. The Panthers held onto 32nd in the league in number of down conversions, at a paltry 28%. For perspective, the Kansas City Chiefs convert 51.7% of their NFL high into third downs.

Carolina’s struggles in that area continued Sunday. She was 3 of 12 on 3 touchdowns against the Ravens.

The ground match was also suspended on Sunday. After averaging 159.5 yards per game on the ground since Christian McCaffrey’s departure last month, the Panthers were limited to 36 yards on 17 carries.

“It’s all on us,” said center Bradley Bozeman. “We have to turn around next week and get our running game back on track.”

storage

DeBrian Burns. Although Carolina struggled as a team, Burns had an impressive season with eight sacks through 11 games. Burns has never recorded 10 sacks in a season — he’s twice finished with nine — but this could be “Spiderman’s” season to reach that goal. Burns’ production is the main reason the Panthers declined an offer to trade him before the deadline for two first-round draft picks.

Low stock

CBCJ Henderson. The Panthers were traded for a former top 10 pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars last year, but he failed to live up to expectations at Carolina and is now in danger of losing his starting job.

When asked to rate Henderson’s play against the Crows, Wilkes said “not good enough”.

“CJ has a lot of talent, as we’ve talked about on several occasions, and he has the ability to get to the line of scrimmage and challenge any player in this league,” said Wilkes. “So we have to make sure we get that done.”

injuries

The Panthers managed to get S Jeremy Chinn back on the field and it made a big difference as Carolina held the Ravens to just 3 points through the first three quarters. … LB Cory Littleton left Sunday’s game with an ankle injury, and his status with the Broncos is unclear.

key number

3 – The number of Carolina’s conversions in the last nine minutes of its loss to the Crows.

next steps

The Panthers are not ready to start playing younger players to see what they can do, Wilkes said, stressing that the goal is still to win games. “As long as I’m in that very role, it’s always going to be now,” said Wilkes. “I’m trying to put us in the best position to win.”

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