The back-up quarterback is often the most popular guy on a team, and never is that more true than when the starter is, let’s be generous, unproven. The challenge for Panthers fans is that they don’t know who their back-up is. P.J. Walker and Will Grier have been treated equally by this franchise for the past two years. That equal treatment doesn’t always lead to equal results, as seen yesterday with Walker getting the nod to start and Grier having what can be characterized as a false start against the Colts.
In his limited time, Walker looked anywhere from decent to good while playing with the twos and threes. He found open receivers for big plays and generally looked calm and in control of the offense. When asked what was different between yesterday and his time with the Colts, Walker told reporters that it was “just me having fun, to be honest. When I was here, I didn’t have as much fun playing football, to be honest. I was always thinking. I’m not thinking as much anymore, just going out there and playing.”
That looser attitude showed up in his ability to improvise at times, including on his seven yard touchdown strike to rookie tight end Tommy Tremble. Improvisation, or even success, did not describe Grier’s day, however. The other contender for the Panthers number two quarterback spot didn’t have the same opportunity to show off any progress he has made in the last year. Penalties and poor blocking by the offensive line saw to that.
I think it is safe to assume that the roles will be reversed next week against Baltimore. Grier will be given a chance to convert something other than a third-and-17 and the Panthers will go from there. Look for Grier to flash improvement over last year as well, or else expect Walker to have the edge in this competition.