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Cardinals Prepared for Walker, Newton; Whatever Else Carolina Does

The Carolina Panthers signed quarterback Cam Newton, who could throw a nice mix in preparation for the Cardinals this Sunday.

News of the Carolina Panthers bringing back quarterback Cam Newton following Sam Darnold's shoulder injury made its way to Tempe, where the Arizona Cardinals prepare for battle with Carolina on Sunday.

With Newton's presence now in the quarterback room, will Newton even see the field after having only days to prepare?

Said defensive coordinator Vance Joseph, "I'm not sure, he signed today, right? I mean, he's played a lot of football. He's been in a lot of systems, most NFL systems is simply language. And also, I wouldn't say he can't play, it will be tough to play with today's practice, but it would not be impossible.

On Thursday, Panthers head coach Matt Rhule confirmed the team would start quarterback P.J. Walker at State Farm Stadium.

"Obviously with P.J. Walker playing for them, you have to prepare for a lot of things," Joseph said. 

"It's their normal offense with maybe some wrinkles that he's good at, with some QB run stuff. So that being said, everything's being covered, whoever plays quarterback, everything's being covered. It has to be that way every single week anyway. So we'll see."

Joseph was complimentary of Walker's game.

"He's a very, very smart player. His pre-snap recognition is very, very good. The ball's out on time, he takes care of the ball pretty much like most good quarterbacks do and he also can take off and run some if need be. You know he's a passing-first quarterback, but by no means he's a runner first," Joseph said. 

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"He's playing quarterback the right way. Watching his couple starts that he's made and games he's played in, it has been some QB runs, but for the most part it's drop-back. It's NFL, one-on-one quarterback. He's accurate, throws well outside of numbers. The nine ball is pretty accurate. And again, his pre-snap recognitions, it's pretty good."

Whether it be Newton, Walker or perhaps anything else thrown Arizona's way, linebacker Markus Golden will be prepared.

"I got a lot of respect for Cam, but if he played we'd be ready man, I don't care who's gonna be back there, I'll be ready," Golden said.

When it comes to quick quarterbacks like Walker, sometimes a traditional approach to rushing the passer doesn't work thanks to agile passers being able to escape the pocket and find open grass in front of them.

Golden says he has a lot of respect for Walker, but his game won't change on Sunday regardless of who's back there.

"For me, I'm gonna take my shot no matter what," Golden insisted. "Whether you got speed, whether you're a slow quarterback, once I get past that block, I'm gonna make sure I take my shot. So even if you get away, I'd be able to look at film and say at least I took a shot on him.

"He's (Walker) one of those guys that you got to take a shot on because he's quick. He's a tough player, went to Temple so you know he got some toughness in him. And I like his game. I like his game and he's pretty quick. Hopefully we can get out there and be able to contain him and keep him in that pocket. 

"He got a pretty good arm, but if we can stop the run and be able to get after the quarterback, I like our chances."