An injury to Carolina Panthers starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has opened the door for former West Virginia Mountaineer Wil Grier to possibly see NFL playing time for just the third time in his short career.
Bridgewater was injured during the Panthers’ last game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He has been able to practice in a limited capacity so far this week, but Carolina head coach Matt Rhule said Wednesday that his status is still uncertain at this point. Rhule also said that he does not know who Bridgwater’s immediate backup would be between Grier, a 2019 third-round draft choice, and former XFL star P.J. Walker.
“Will has deserved to have a chance to play, it just hasn’t timed out for him,” Rhule told local media Wednesday. “He’s practiced really well and prepared really well. We could go the whole year with Will not getting in the game, and I would know exactly what we have with him because I see it day in and day out. I have no doubt about what he can do. He just has to go out and do it when the time comes.”
Interestingly, Rhule has former experience with both of his possible back up quarterbacks. Rhule coached Walker for four years at Temple and coached against Grier twice while at Baylor. Rhule said Grier and Walker are evenly splitting reps in practice this week.
Grier played in two games as a rookie last season, completing 53.8% of his passes for 228 yards and four interceptions.
“From the first year to the second year, there’s a lot that just kind of slows down,” Grier said. “You get an offseason to kind of reevaluate. I did a lot of self-scouting, worked on a lot of specific things in the offseason and I kind of knew what to expect going into this year.”
Grier said that his main focus each week as a depth quarterback is to prepare as though he is going to play, even if he does not.
“I know I can play in this league, I know I can play really well in this league,” Grier said. “What I don’t know, and what I can’t control, is when that time comes. I’ll be ready when my number is called and that’s all I can do.”
The Panthers are scheduled to play the Detroit Lions this Sunday at 1 p.m.