Nov 20, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Las Vegas Raiders defensive tackle Bilal Nichols (91) hits Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson (3) in the second quarter at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Panthers, Broncos focus on better quarterback play

Scrutiny has fallen on Denver quarterback Russell Wilson, with his first season with the Broncos not going as planned.

The Carolina Panthers are also struggling with quarterback issues but they don’t have just one QB to place all the blame on.

Both teams are looking for improvement under center as Denver visits Carolina for Sunday afternoon’s game in Charlotte, N.C.

The Panthers are turning to Sam Darnold, who was the 2021 opening-day starter, to begin this game at 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 that role didn’t go well vs. the Ravens.

The Panthers (3-8) didn’t score a touchdown last week at Baltimore.

“We’ve flushed it,” Carolina interim coach Steve Wilks said. “Our mindset is on Denver.”

But if the Panthers think they have problems on offense, just look at Denver.

The Broncos (3-7) have lost two games in a row.

“We’re trying to do everything we can to get that rhythm back,” Denver coach Nathaniel Hackett said. “Russell is so positive, it seems like he’s in a good place.”

The Broncos are last in the NFL in scoring at 14.7 points per game.

“Trying to find consistency and rhythm on offense,” Denver receiver Courtland Sutton said. “We’ve just got to finish at the end of the day. Losing is not OK. We have to win out to have any chance (of reaching the playoffs).”

Wilson has thrown just seven touchdowns passes to go with five interceptions. Most glaring might be that 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 gone from the Broncos is running back Melvin Gordon, who was waived after coughing up five fumbles despite a team-best 318 yards on the ground.

That moves Latavius Murray into the role as top running back for Denver. Running back Chase Edmonds was placed on injured reserve.

“That means more opportunities for me, so I have to take advantage,” Murray said.

Wilson will be back in the state where he played for North Carolina State before transferring to Wisconsin. The Broncos will also have receiver Kendall Hinton, a former college quarterback at Wake Forest, playing in his home state and his role has increased the past few weeks.

While acknowledging the fluid situation at quarterback — and with PJ Walker’s status unclear as he deals with an ankle injury — Wilks said attention should be spread to other spots.

“When you say inconsistent, I think you can really pinpoint it across the board at each position,” Wilks said. “We’re trying to find the right mix.”

The offensive line and secondary have been trouble spots at times for the Panthers. Now they’re addressing indecisiveness from running backs, something that was put on the list of areas to address after the Baltimore game.

“We’re all looking at options across the board,” Wilks said. “At every position right now, we’re trying to figure out who’s going to give us the best opportunity to win.”

The Panthers have won only once in seven meetings with Denver, that coming in 2008 at home. The most devastating loss for Carolina in the series came in the Super Bowl to end the 2015 season.

–Field Level Media

Oct 23, 2022; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Panthers running back Chuba Hubbard (30) on the sidelines in the third quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Panthers RB Chuba Hubbard (ankle) ruled out vs. Falcons

Carolina Panthers running back Chuba Hubbard will miss Sunday’s game at the Atlanta Falcons with an ankle injury, the team confirmed Friday.

D’Onta Foreman and rookie Raheem Blackshear will handle rushing duties when the Panthers (2-5) take on the NFC South-leading Falcons (3-4).

Hubbard, 23, sustained the injury in Sunday’s 21-3 win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It was his first start of the season after Carolina traded Christian McCaffrey to the San Francisco 49ers.

Hubbard carried nine times for 63 yards and a touchdown and caught two passes for 10 yards against the Bucs.

He has rushed for 709 yards and six TDs in 24 games (11 starts) since the Panthers drafted him in the fourth round in 2021. Hubbard also has 28 catches for 185 yards and one score.

Foreman, 26, gained 118 yards on 15 carries and 27 yards on two receptions against Tampa Bay. He has rushed for 155 yards in seven games (no starts) this season.

Blackshear, 23, has two carries for minus-5 yards in three games.

The Panthers are in better shape on defense, with cornerbacks Jaycee Horn (ribs) and Donte Jackson (ankle) both making progress. Horn is listed as questionable and Jackson has no injury status.

Defensive tackle Matt Ioannidis (concussion) was a full participant in Friday’s practice and defensive end Marquis Haynes Sr. returned after missing two days with an illness. Linebacker Frankie Luvu (shoulder) and safety Juston Burris (hip) are questionable to face the Falcons.

–Field Level Media

Oct 9, 2022; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) makes his way to the locker room before the final seconds of the end of the second quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Report: X-rays negative on Baker Mayfield’s foot

X-rays on Carolina Panthers quarterback Baker Mayfield’s left foot were negative, NFL Network reported Monday.

Mayfield will have an MRI on Monday to determine the extent of an injury sustained in Sunday’s 37-15 home loss to the San Francisco 49ers. He limped to the locker room with 11 seconds remaining in the first half after a player fell on his left ankle.

Mayfield, who was in a walking boot when he met reporters after the game, returned to play most of the second half.

“A little painful right now,” Mayfield said after the game. “I’m not real sure exactly what it is. We’ll examine that (Monday) and find out. So right now I’m managing the pain and learning to step in the boot.”

If Mayfield isn’t available to play against the Los Angeles Rams (2-3) next Sunday, P.J. Walker — who is 2-0 in his career as a starter for Carolina — would likely get the call for the Panthers (1-4).

Mayfield, who has struggled this season, completed 20 of 36 passes for 215 yards and no touchdowns with an interception returned for a touchdown against the Niners. For the season, he has completed just 54.9 percent of his passes for 962 yards, with four TDs and four picks.

Last season’s starter, Sam Darnold, remains on injured reserve with an ankle injury suffered during a preseason contest.

–Field Level Media

Oct 9, 2022; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) signals at the line of scrimmage in the second quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Jimmy Garoppolo guides 49ers to road win over Panthers

Jimmy Garoppolo threw for two touchdowns and Emmanuel Moseley returned an interception for a touchdown as the San Francisco 49ers won 37-15 over the host Carolina Panthers on Sunday in Charlotte, N.C.

Jeff Wilson Jr. ran for 120 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries to help San Francisco (3-2) win for the second time in less than a week. Tevin Coleman also scored on a late-game 5-yard run.

Garoppolo completed 18 of 30 passes for 253 yards without an interception. The 49ers were 7-for-12 on third-down conversions.

Panthers quarterback Baker Mayfield was 20 of 36 for 215 yards. Carolina (1-4), which has won just one of four home games this season, was 3-for-15 on third-down conversions.

Backup PJ Walker also took some snaps at quarterback for the Panthers, completing 5 of 6 passes for 60 yards.

The 49ers scored on the game’s opening possession, as Garoppolo capped off a seven-play 75-yard drive by connecting with Coleman on a 9-yard scoring strike.

San Francisco appeared set to expand its lead in the last two minutes of the first half, but Carolina’s Derrick Brown blocked Robbie Gould’s 43-yard field goal attempt.

The 49ers did better just four plays later, with Moseley’s interception and 41-yard return for a touchdown.

Carolina perked up and scored nine points in the third quarter. The 49ers responded by marching 75 yards and chewing up more than six minutes of clock to go up 30-12 on Wilson’s 1-yard run with 12:31 left.

The Panthers’ lone touchdown of the afternoon came on Christian McCaffrey’s 19-yard run on the first possession of the second half. He was short on a two-point conversion run. McCaffrey finished with a team-high 54 rushing yards to go with 50 receiving yards on 21 touches.

Eddy Pineiro gave Carolina its only first-half points with a 43-yard field goal. The Panthers had 133 yards of total offense in the first half.

Pineiro connected on field goals of 37 and 34 yards in the second half.

–Field Level Media

Aug 19, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; New England Patriots defensive end Henry Anderson (94) runs off the field against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Panthers sign veteran DE Henry Anderson

The Carolina Panthers signed defensive end Henry Anderson on Monday.

The 6-foot-6, 301-pound veteran was released by the New England Patriots last Thursday.

Anderson, 31, has 11.5 sacks and 44 quarterback hits in 78 games (43 starts) with the Indianapolis Colts (2015-17), New York Jets (2018-20) and Patriots.

The 2015 third-round pick played in the first four games with New England last season before suffering a season-ending pectoral injury. The Patriots released Anderson with an injury settlement.

The Panthers also signed wide receiver Preston Williams and safety Marquise Blair to the practice squad.

Carolina made room for Anderson on the 53-man roster by waiving defensive tackle Daviyon Nixon. The Panthers also released wide receiver Ra’Shaun Henry from the practice squad.

–Field Level Media

New York Jets kicker Eddy Pineiro (15) celebrates after kicking a field goal against the Miami Dolphins during NFL game at Hard Rock Stadium Sunday in Miami Gardens. Pineior kicked for the University of Florida.

New York Jet V Miami Dolphins 15

Panthers sign K Eddy Pineiro with Zane Gonzalez on IR

The Carolina Panthers are signing kicker Eddy Pineiro to a one-year deal to replace Zane Gonzalez.

Pineiro’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, confirmed the signing Wednesday.

Gonzalez was placed on season-ending injured reserve Tuesday with a right groin injury.

Gonzalez, 27, was hurt while kicking on the sidelines in the third quarter of Friday’s 21-0 preseason win against the Buffalo Bills.

Pineiro, 26, worked with Panthers special teams coordinator Chris Tabor when Tabor held the same role with the Chicago Bears.

Pineiro was cut by the New York Jets last week after losing a competition with Greg Zuerlein.

He has made 31 of 36 field goals and 36 of 39 extra points in 21 games with the Bears (2019) and Jets (2021).

–Field Level Media

Aug 26, 2022; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Trainers attend to Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold (14) during the second half against the Buffalo Bills at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Panthers QB Sam Darnold (ankle) out 4-6 weeks

Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold will be sidelined four-to-six weeks with high-ankle sprain, NFL Network reported Saturday.

Darnold, 25, underwent an MRI on his left ankle Saturday and is expected to seek a second opinion, per the report.

The fifth-year NFL QB was carted off the field after sustaining the injury in the third quarter of the Panthers’ 21-0 win against the Buffalo Bills in Friday night’s preseason finale.

Darnold was in the process of throwing an incomplete pass when Bill defensive tackle C.J. Brewer pulled him down, causing Darnold’s ankle to twist unnaturally under Brewer’s weight.

Darnold completed 5 of 11 passes for 49 yards and added a 1-yard rushing touchdown before the injury.

With Darnold unavailable and rookie third-round pick Matt Corral (foot) out for the season, veteran PJ Walker is in line to open the season as the backup to starter Baker Mayfield.

The Panthers host Mayfield’s former team, the Cleveland Browns, in Week 1 on Sept. 11.

–Field Level Media