Denver quarterback Russell Wilson has come under scrutiny because his first season with the Broncos didn’t go as planned.
The Carolina Panthers also struggle with quarterback problems, but they don’t have just one QB to blame.
Both teams are looking for improvements under center as Denver visits Carolina for Sunday afternoon’s game in Charlotte, NC
The Panthers are turning to 2021 Opening Day starter Sam Darnold to start this game as quarterback. It will be his first start of the season.
Darnold, who made 11 starts last year, will be the third starter at quarterback in as many weeks for Carolina. Baker Mayfield’s return to the role didn’t do well compared to the Ravens.
The Panthers (3-8) didn’t score a touchdown in Baltimore last week.
“We flushed it,” Carolina interim coach Steve Wilks said. “Our mindset is on Denver.”
But if the Panthers think they’re having trouble on offense, just look at Denver.
The Broncos (3-7) have lost two games in a row.
“We’re trying everything we can to find that rhythm again,” said Denver coach Nathaniel Hackett. “Russell is so positive, it seems like he’s in a good place.”
The Broncos are bottom of the NFL with 14.7 points per game.
“I’m trying to find consistency and rhythm on offense,” said Denver receiver Courtland Sutton. “We just have to finish at the end of the day. It’s not okay to lose. We have to win to have any chance (to make the playoffs).”
Wilson has thrown just seven touchdown passes to go with five interceptions. Perhaps most notably, he has been sacked 32 times.
It’s unclear if receiver Jerry Jeudy will be back after missing a game with an ankle injury. Already off the Broncos is running back Melvin Gordon, who was picked up on the ground after five fumbles despite a team-best 318 yards.
That puts Latavius Murray in the role of top running back for Denver. Running back Chase Edmonds was placed on injured reserve.
“It means more opportunities for me, so I have to take them,” Murray said.
Wilson will return to the state where he played for North Carolina State before moving to Wisconsin. The Broncos will also have receiver Kendall Hinton, a former college quarterback at Wake Forest who plays in his home state and his role has increased in recent weeks.
While Wilks acknowledges the fluid situation at the quarterback — and PJ Walker’s status is unclear as he’s dealing with an ankle injury — Wilks said attention should be drawn elsewhere.
“If you say inconsistent, I think you can pinpoint it at any position down the line,” Wilks said. “We’re trying to find the right mix.”
The offensive line and secondary were trouble spots for the Panthers at times. Now they’re addressing running backs’ indecisiveness, something that was added to the list of areas to address after the Baltimore game.
“We’re looking at all options across the board,” Wilks said. “We’re currently trying to find out who gives us the best chance of winning in every position.”
The Panthers have won just once in seven encounters with Denver, at home in 2008. The most devastating loss for Carolina in the series came in the Super Bowl at the end of the 2015 season.