While Walker made one start last year for the Panthers, this will be his first extended starting stretch since a five-game run as the starting quarterback for the Houston Roughnecks of the XFL in 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic caused the league to cease operations.
Walker was a candidate to be league MVP for the Roughnecks with 15 touchdowns and four interceptions in those five starts. Now at the helm of the Panthers, Walker is looking to bring his energy to the lineup much like he did in Houston.
“I’m going to just revert back to when I played in the XFL, to be honest,” Walker said, via Darin Gantt of the team’s website. “I had a lot of fun, enjoyed the moment. I’m extremely excited, but when I go out there, I want to stay extremely excited, because the guys around me need that energy, need that juice, and I want to bring it on Sunday.
“That’s the most important thing; I want to bring that juice. I want to show them that juice, but also know that I need to be calm and settled when it’s time to go out there and play.”
Walker completed 24 of 34 passes for 258 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions in his lone start for the Panthers last year. The effort was enough for a victory in a 20-0 defeat of the Detroit Lions. He also got 22 snaps in the season finale against the New Orleans Saints. That performance did not go as well as Walker completed just five passes in 14 attempts and was intercepted three times.
With a better understanding of the Panthers offense with a year under his belt, Walker is looking to play within himself. It will be a tough task with the league leading Arizona Cardinals ahead this weekend.
“Just doing my job, not doing too much,” Walker said. “As a quarterback, when you feel like you can make a lot of plays, you tend to do a lot more than you need to or are asked to do, and things start to go bad. So take what’s there, play the game smart, and go out and lead the guys and have fun and play great football.”