Charlotte, N.C. – The Saturday of the 2019 NFL Draft weekend will always be a special moment for Mountaineer Will Grier, as he was the most recent quarterback picked by the Carolina Panthers since Cam Newton in 2011. The Panthers organization looks vastly different from that late April weekend and for Grier that could mean a chance to step up.
The Panthers longtime quarterback Cam Newton has been riddled with injuries as of late, stemming back to last season and his off-season shoulder surgery. Newton is sidelined for the season and QB1 is currently Kyle Allen. Allen won his first five games as the team’s starter, but has since lost six of the last seven.
Add in the firing of long-leading head coach Ron Rivera and you have a recipe for fans wanting a change at quarterback.
The role of quarterback is one that as soon as things start to fall apart, fans want a quarterback change. And Grier knows it. Grier also knows it’s not his place to voice an opinion or to agree with any of the fans when they cry for change, during the game, post-game or at practices.
“It’s not really up to me, I just show up to work everyday, try to get better [and] try to help this team,” Grier said recently. “I’ve just got to show up to work and do my job, that’s all I can do.”
“It’s out of my control and I’ve just got to stay ready.”
The Panthers are currently 5-8 and second-to-last in the NFC South. While the organization is having a down season, the coaching staff has not given Grier much playing time. Until Grier gets the chance to really settle in and get some live action in the NFL, it won’t be known if his prowess at West Virginia transfers over to the NFL.
“I think I’ve gotten a lot better; [I’m] just trying to learn as much as I can,” said Grier. “Without taking reps, you have to be able to learn and grow and watch and try and soak in as much as I can, so I’m trying to that as best I can.”
For an organization that was in the Super Bowl just a few short seasons ago, the downfall of the offense is certainly something armchair coaches want to discuss at great length. Look at West Virginia fans every time Austin Kendall had an incomplete pass or an interception; many were apt to call for a replacement for him. The same thing is happening with the Panthers fanbase, and there are certainly many West Virginia fans adding to that noise; eager to see their beloved Grier suit up and get his chance.
The Panthers take on the 10-3 Seattle Seahawks this coming Sunday and as of now, there is no talk of making a change at quarterback. That’s not to say that Grier won’t get to see some time on the field, but for now Grier and disgruntled Panthers fans will have to wait and see.