Panthers Notebook: Backup QB Andy Dalton Likely Starting Sunday Vs. Seahawks, Not Taking Over For Injured Bryce Young; LB Kamu Grugier-Hill ‘Ready’ To Replace Sidelined Shaq Thompson

andy dalton may start on sunday (1)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Two Carolina Panthers reserves, quarterback Andy Dalton and linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill, could be in line for expanded roles against the host Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.

Dalton is expected to make his first Panthers start with rookie starter Bryce Young sidelined with an ankle injury.

Grugier-Hill, who immediately assumed the defensive play-calling duties after starter Shaq Thompson suffered a broken fibula during Monday night’s 20-17 loss to the New Orleans Saints at Bank of America Stadium, is being considered for a starting spot by the coaching staff.

“We’re still trying to work through all of those different things,” Panthers defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero said during a pre-practice press conference Thursday.

Panthers’ No. 2 QB Andy Dalton Seeks To Have ‘Fun’

Dalton likely will get the nod Sunday, but the 13-year NFL veteran understands his role and is not lobbying to replace Young, the top overall pick in last April’s draft.

“This is Bryce’s thing,” Dalton said Thursday. “I’m not here to make this a competition.

“I’m here to help the team.”

With Young, who has missed both practices this week, standing nearby, Dalton ran the No. 1 offense Thursday.

He described the opportunity to start as “fun.”

“For me? Obviously. Absolutely. Absolutely,” he said, laughing. “It’s always nice because I’ve had a certain way of operating, like, my whole career. And I think when you go from starting to being the backup, that’s one of the things that you miss.

“Scout team’s one thing. You’re looking at a card and you’re running the other team’s offense. But when you get a chance to kinda take ownership of what you’re doing and to know how you want it to look and how you want it to feel and you actually get to execute it, that’s what makes football fun.”

Dalton assumes control of an offense that has produced just two touchdowns in two games, both losses. The 35-year-old QB signed a 2-year deal with the Panthers during the offseason with the understanding he would mentor the incoming rookie.

Dalton said he remains content. When Young is healthy enough to start again, the job is his.

But if Dalton does start Sunday, “my goal is to win,” he said.

With LB Shaq Thompson Out, Backup Kamu Grugier-Hill ‘Ready’

When linebacker Shaq Thompson suffered a broken fibula during last Monday’s 20-17 loss to the New Orleans Saints, Kamu Grugier-Hill received the first opportunity to replace one of the defensive unit’s top talents.

Grugier-Hill responded, assuming the play-calling responsibilities, recording six tackles, including five solo, and a fourth-quarter sack.

“When Shaq went down, unfortunately, there, we’re always making changes and adapting as the game goes, and that’s what we did,” defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero said Thursday. “The other guys, they stepped up.”

Adding positional depth, the Panthers promoted former Pro Bowler Deion “Deebo” Jones from the practice squad to the 53-man roster.

“We felt really good about how Kamu played in (Monday’s) game,” Evero said. “Deebo’s, obviously, he’s going to be up now. He’s going to provide some depth, and we’re working throughout all this rotational thing. Chandler Wooten is in play. So, we’re kind of considering everybody.”

With 37 career starts, Grugier-Hill said he won’t feel pressure if he gets the starting call.

“I feel good … I feel good,” he said. “It helps having support from Shaq and the other guys, but, yeah, I’m ready.”

Arrow to top