Panthers activate QB Sam Darnold to roster; team fires 2 coaches

CHARLOTTE — On Monday, the Carolina Panthers activated quarterback Sam Darnold to the team’s 53-man roster.

Darnold has been on injured reserve since he suffered a high ankle sprain in the Panthers’ preseason finale against Buffalo. Darnold and kicker Zane Gonzalez were both hurt in the 21-0 win.

The Panthers (2-7) began the season with Baker Mayfield as their starter and P.J. Walker as his backup.

Panthers fire 2 coaches after embarrassing loss to Bengals

Carolina Panthers interim coach Steve Wilks fired two of his assistants on Monday, less than 24 hours after the team’s embarrassing 42-21 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, in which it allowed a franchise-record 35 points in the first half.

Wilks fired cornerbacks coach Evan Cooper and defensive line coach Paul Pasqualoni.

Cooper has been with the Panthers since 2020, while Pasqualoni, the former head coach at Syracuse, joined the Panthers this offseason.

Defensive assistant Bobby Maffei will take on added responsibilities with the defensive backs, with interim defensive coordinator Al Holcomb playing a more prominent role in that area, too. Pass rush specialist Don Johnson and assistant defensive line coach Terrance Knighton will continue to coach the defensive line without Pasqualoni.

>> The Panthers host the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday night. Channel 9 will have a special one-hour show dedicated to what you need to know ahead of the game. Watch our coverage LIVE starting at 7 p.m., and stay tuned in for the game immediately afterward.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

(WATCH BELOW: Panthers’ Ikem Ekwonu talks rookie season)