Carolina Panthers quarterbacks Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold have been ruled out for Friday's preseason game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium after taking on most of the work in joint practices this week, per Darin Gantt of the team website.
With Mayfield and Darnold set to receive some much-needed rest, PJ Walker and rookie quarterback Matt Corral will each play two quarters against the Patriots.
Panthers head coach Matt Rhule explained the decision to give Corral and Walker more playing time Friday:
"It's two things; we want to see them both with the same groups, as best we can, so they both have the same set of receivers, and there's a consistency there. And then we see them with the third group, so there's some consistency there.
"Then the second part, and this was coach McAdoo's idea, and his perspective, as a backup quarterback, you have to be ready to go in the game at a moment's notice, and you have to be able to excel and play well without having much of a chance to warm up. This is our way of simulating that for them, where they have to warm up and get cooled down and go in there and be hot; that's how I see it."
Walker saw the majority of playing time in the team's preseason opener against the Washington Commanders. He completed 10 of 19 passes for 136 yards and rushed for 12 yards.
Corral played the fourth quarter against Washington and completed just one of nine passes for 11 yards and rushed for six yards.
Walker has spent the last two seasons in Carolina and appeared in five games in 2021, including one start. He completed 54.5 percent of his passes for 362 yards and one touchdown against three interceptions.
Corral, meanwhile, spent the last four seasons at Ole Miss and was selected by the Panthers in the third round of the 2022 draft.
While the Panthers want to see what they have in both Walker and Corral, it's hard to imagine either player will see time as a backup this season, as whoever loses the starting job in the competition between Mayfield and Darnold will likely serve as QB2.
Mayfield is expected to be named the starter for Week 1, per The Athletic's Jeff Howe and Joe Person, which would mean Darnold, who served as QB1 for the franchise last year, would be in line to back him up.
The Panthers open the 2022 season against the Cleveland Browns on Sept. 11.