The members of ESPN’s “Get Up!” took their turns making bold predictions, and Domonique Foxworth’s may seem a bit shocking at first. Here’s what he said:
I got P.J. Walker outplaying Joe Burrow. Joe Burrow is obviously going to struggle without Ja’Marr Chase, and it seems like the Panthers have a really talented defense that seems to have a new reason to play. P.J. Walker also has been playing pretty well lately, and he’s going up against a Bengals defense that has four cornerbacks on the injury report. Only one of them, Eli Apple, practiced yesterday, and he has a hamstring injury. So I got P.J. Walker outplaying Joe Burrow.
So a few questions.
Who is Domonique Foxworth?
He’s a former NFL cornerback who played for the Denver Broncos, the Atlanta Falcons, and the Baltimore Ravens during a career that spanned six years. After retiring in 2011 at the age of 28, he earned an MBA from Harvard Business School. He now writes for The Undefeated and hosts “The Morning Roast” on ESPN radio. He is featured on a lot of other ESPN shows as well.
And who is P.J. Walker?
The Carolina Panthers’ new starting quarterback is a 5’ 11”, rocket-armed 27-year-old in his third season out of Temple, where he played under Matt Rhule. He went undrafted in 2017 and was picked up by the Indianapolis Colts. He didn’t see a lot of time his first two years in the NFL and ended up in the XFL from October of 2019 to March of 2020, when the XFL canceled the remainder of the season due to COVID.
Walker signed a two-year deal with Carolina, reuniting with his college coach. He started one game last year, then signed a new deal and replaced an injured Baker Mayfield in Week 5. Walker would get his first start the next week against the Los Angeles Rams. In Week 7, he led an impressive upset of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
And last week, he almost pulled off a miraculous last-second win over the Atlanta Falcons. But DJ Moore, who hauled in Walker’s 62-yard strike, was penalized for removing his helmet in celebration, and the Panthers were forced to kick a long extra point, which was no good.
PJ WALKER JUST DID THAT. HAIL MARY TO DJ MOORE. pic.twitter.com/dDYwoZhaGG— NFL (@NFL) October 30, 2022
Is Walker good?
Well, he certainly has arm talent. The clip above shows his strong arm. But he also has great ability to split defenders with accurate throws over the middle.
And... his teammates love him.
PJ Walker is beloved in the locker room. pic.twitter.com/FUQWtPAZoq— Michael Rimmer (@avl_mike) October 28, 2022
So can Walker outplay Burrow?
It’s the NFL. Cooper Rush just went 4-1 as a starter... and beat Burrow. Mitch Trubisky beat Burrow and then got benched for Kenny Pickett.
Meanwhile, as Foxworth said, Walker will have a pretty easy matchup against an injured Cincinnati secondary. And the QB has revitalized his entire team, including the previously-underachieving D.J. Moore.
DJ Moore through 5 weeks with Baker Mayfield: 17 receptions, 197 yards, and 1 TD— Jordan Hunt (@JayyyHunt) October 30, 2022
DJ Moore through 3 weeks with PJ Walker: 16 receptions, 228 yards, and 2 TDs
Rhule deserved what he got
Plus, Walker has running back D’Onta Foreman, who has 236 yards on 41 carries (that’s 5.8 yards per carry) since Christian McCaffrey was traded to the San Francisco 49ers. Imagine that sort of production against a Bengals front that has struggled to stop the run without D.J. Reader.
In other words, yes, it’s possible Walker will end up victorious and yes, it’s possible he will end up with more impressive box score stats.
But will he outplay Burrow? Not likely. Burrow is one of the very best quarterbacks in the league. He is the complete package as a passer and can make every throw. The Panthers, meanwhile, as John Sheeran points out in the video below, are near the bottom of the league in success rate in the games that Walker has started.
So, as Sheeran says, while Walker can make the big-time throws (the most in the NFL over his three starts), he cannot sustain drives the way Burrow can.
For more, check out our preview and analysis:
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