Rookie Bryce Young closed in on becoming the Panthers’ starting quarterback on veteran Andy Dalton on Thursday. Here’s what you need to know:
- Young took on all first-team representatives during Thursday’s OTA practice, the only OTA session open to the media this week.
- Coach Frank Reich said he and General Manager Scott Vetterer targeted this week as the right time to transition to push Young up the depth chart above Dalton.
- Reich and Vetterer told both midfielders about the switch last week.
- Dalton and Young both took first-team reps at organized team activity practices.
- Dalton signed with the Panthers in March and was mentoring Young and third baseman Matt Corral.
the athleteInstant Analysis:
Young man sitting in as QB1, but not a “rookie”
From the moment the Panthers drafted Young with the first pick, there was little doubt that Heisman Trophy winner Alabama would be their Week 1 quarterback. And while Reich wasn’t ready to make the announcement yet, the Panthers’ first-year coach was ready to move Young ahead of Dalton on the depth chart.
So when will Reich be comfortable enough to officially name Young as a starter?
Not yet, said Reich. “He shows everything you want to see. But that goes back to the draft decision — you don’t make a decision until you have to make it. We’re just giving him and our team the chance to improve and earn that starting role.”
Young had a solid day Thursday, including a long touchdown pass to DJ Chark on the left side. Chark wasn’t the first read on the play, but Young made a nice spiral for the receiver.
“I can tell you now that he respects everyone in the dressing room, and he hasn’t done anything to lose that respect,” Shark said of Young. “He just keeps winning. We’re here for him… and we think he can take us to some really high places.” – person
Dalton is still valuable to the Panthers
Dalton knew what he was getting into when he left the Saints in free agency and signed a deal with Carolina. But it’s not like Dalton would be a bad choice as a backup in the Panthers’ pinch hit.
The quarterback finished ninth in passer rating (95.2) and tenth in completion percentage (66.7) among qualified quarterbacks (33 qualified) last season. His projected points added per regression rate (via TruMedia) was just below the average league ranking, coming in 20th with a 0.02 average. He really excelled against the blitz, however, with a 0.17 EPA per running back rate in those positions, which ranked sixth among qualified QBs.
The Saints went 6-8 with Dalton under center last season. – What is with you
Carolina selected Young with the No. 1 pick after the quarterback passed for over 8,000 yards in two seasons as Alabama’s quarterback. Young won the Heisman Trophy in 2021 when he threw for 4,872 yards and 47 touchdowns in 15 games.
Dalton has been here before. He signed with the Bears in 2021 a month before Chicago drafted Justin Fields in the first round. Fields took over as the starter in Week 3 after Dalton suffered a bone bruise in his knee.
Dalton started 14 games for New Orleans last season after James Winston was injured. The Bengals selected Dalton in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft, the same year that Panthers QB Cam Newton finished first.
Dalton, 35, previously said he tried to help Young, 21, with some little things transitioning into the NFL, like the mechanics of getting in and out of the pool.
“I think his understanding of football is really high,” Dalton said of Young. “You can tell early on that he’s got it.”
(Photo: Jim Dedmon/USA Today)
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