The Carolina Panthers placed quarterback Taylor Heinicke, their Week 16 starter, on injured reserve on Wednesday morning.
Carolina signed quarterback Garrett Gilbert as the corresponding move, in sore need of depth at the position. Heinicke beat out Gilbert for the backup job in training camp this summer.
However, the Panthers will start third-string rookie Kyle Allen against New Orleans on Sunday. Head coach Ron Rivera said Allen showed the coaching staff some nice things when he went in briefly for an injured Heinicke last week.
Allen completed his four passes for 38 yards.
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“I thought he did a nice job,” said Rivera. “His decision-making was good. I thought he threw some nice balls. And, you know, he took pretty good control.”
There’s just one thing Allen needs to rectify ahead of his firstNFL start, laughed Rivera.
“He has a tendency to walk toward the bench to get the signals, and we don’t have to signal anymore because we have the helmet hooked up (with the microphone),” he said. “I think that’s a little something he’ll have to learn and get used to.”
Heinicke injured his left elbow in the second quarter of last Sunday’s loss to Atlanta, but tried to play through the injury. He got an MRI on his elbow on Monday morning. It was his first career NFL start, with Cam Newton inactive with shoulder soreness.
Gilbert has not been active in a regular-season game.
The Panthers will not activate Newton against New Orleans this Sunday.
The Panthers will likely give some other starters rest in the season finale. Those players could include running back Christian McCaffrey and linebacker Luke Kuechly.
Starting defensive tackle Kawann Short (calf), right guard Trai turner (ankle) and left tackle Marshall Newhouse (hip) did not participate in Wednesday’s practice.
If Newhouse can’t play on Sunday, a banged-up Chris Clark will play left tackle instead.
Defensive end Julius Peppers, McCaffrey, center Ryan Kalil, safety Mike Adams and linebacker Thomas Davis all had a rest day.
Jourdan Rodrigue: 704-358-5071; @jourdanrodrigue