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Carolina Panthers’ Sam Darnold to miss several weeks with shoulder injury

Carolina Panthers Sam Darnold
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold has not had a great go at it in his first season with the team. After leading Carolina to wins in each of the first three games, the team has lost five of six.

It now looks like Darnold will miss extended action with a shoulder injury he suffered in Week 9’s loss to the New England Patriots.

According to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, Darnold is dealing with a fractured scapula and is expected to miss several weeks of action. P.J. Walker will take over as the Panthers’ starting quarterback for the time being.

  • Sam Darnold stats: 59.5% completion, 1,986 yards, 7 TD, 11 INT, 2 lost fumbles, 71.3 rating

As you can see, the former New York Jets top-three pick from USC has not played at a starter-caliber level thus far this season. After starting out strong, Darnold has thrown four touchdowns against 10 interceptions in his past six starts. He now leads NFL quarterbacks with 11 picks heading into Week 10.

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Related: Carolina Panthers schedule and game-by-game predictions

Carolina Panthers must turn from Sam Darnold to P.J. Walker

Carolina Panthers' Sam Darnold
Nov 7, 2021; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold (14) on the bench in the closing minutes after losing to New England Patriots during the second half at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

At this point, it can’t be seen as a horrible thing for Carolina. The trade deadline has passed. With that comes the inability to land someone like Deshaun Watson — a player the Panthers were previously interested in.

Instead, Carolina turns to a former undrafted free agent from Temple to potentially help right the ship. Walker, 26, was among the best-known figures during the XFL’s short return back in 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic forced the league to close up shop.

In fact, he led the XFL in both passing yards and passing touchdowns as a member of the Houston Roughnecks.

At the very least, he might offer a bit more upside in head coach Matt Rhule’s system. With Carolina at 4-5 on the campaign, it might now be about looking at what could work moving forward. Because, Darnold doesn’t seem to be the long-term solution.