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Despite inconsistent showing by Bryce Young, Panthers offense, team's playoff chances possible


Bryce Young takes the snap during the Panthers matchup against the Chicago Bears
Bryce Young takes the snap during the Panthers matchup against the Chicago Bears

By Mitch Greenberg

When rookie quarterback Bryce Young was selected as the top pick in the 2023 NFL Draft by the Carolina Panthers, many critics believed he was too small to be effective at the position. But Young proved in training camp that his ability to navigate at the NFL level, at least in practice mode, was at a high level. But when the regular season began, he quickly started to lose ground with spotty play. However, he has made tremendous strides as a manager of the Panthers’ offense.


He has shown amazing resilience in pass protection that has failed to effectively keep him upright. Young has also made strides with his decision making and complex throws. He’s even managed to maintain the support of the coaching staff and his teammates.


After defeating, CJ Stroud, the No. 2 pick in the Draft, often seen as a measuring stick for Young’s performances, he appeared to be trending in the right direction. Young out-dueled Stroud by almost 100 yards in the air. And despite a tough loss at Detroit due to Young throwing two costly interceptions, he was able to throw for 3 touchdowns in that same game.


So there have been signs that show he’s developing one moment, then regressing during another like the games with multiple touchdown scoring drives contrasted by the past two games where Young has thrown for a combined 358 passing yards and only one touchdown. He’s also thrown as many interceptions(7) as he has touchdowns(8).


Young finished the recent Thursday night game against the Bears going 21/38 for 185 yards and led two scoring drives. Neither drive, however, ended with a passing touchdown. The offense converted just 3/15 3rd downs. His ball security issues have dropped significantly. Young was hit 9 times but did not throw a single interception or fumble.


At every juncture, there are flashes of what the organization hoped for, but not enough to help close out games that were well within the team’s reach.


This season, Young has been pressured 78 times, blitzed 67 times, and sacked 29. So another big question is whether he is durable enough to withstand the hits that don’t appear to be going away any time soon. All of this is piling on Young while he’s being compared to CJ Stroud who just piloted the Texans to their fifth win of the season – the first time Houston has had a winning season since 2019.


The recent slump for Young since the win against the Texans appears to be having an effect on Young’s level of frustration as evidenced by his demeanor at the podium during a post game press conference in Chicago. “It’s a work in progress to find what that disconnect is,” Young said.


“We all have to look in the mirror and figure out what we can do to help …but we’re gonna find that answer together.”

But it’s not all on Young. The offensive line has been porous of late allowing the 5th most pressures in the league with 88. Even with the return of Austin Corbett, they’ve allowed Young to be pressured heavily.


Additionally, the Panthers may need to re-think the playbook and possibly some personnel before an answer materializes – something former NFL cornerback Richard Sherman, who was on hand at the Panthers Thursday night matchup against the Bears, agrees with. “They gotta find concepts he’s more comfortable with,” Sherman said.


The Panthers have said throughout the season that they are working to simplify the playbook so the players can play faster. They also added a play card to Young’s wrist to speed up play insertion during the game. But at its core, the playbook is still very much the same – a Frank Reich infused offense which has amassed the highest total of false start penalties in the NFL this season (18). Now, many critics suggest the Panthers offense needs a total overhaul in order to truly be newly simplistic.


To do that, Reich will have to be much more “hands-off” than he may be willing to accept right now. But offensive coordinator Thomas Brown, who Reich has claimed he has total faith in, needs to be able to craft the playbook more independently. Despite Brown having called the plays over the past three games, it still looks, based on the plays being run, as if Reich is still driving the boat. However, a total overhaul in the middle of the season is a nearly impossible feat. But something has to change soon.




NFC South Division Standings

TEAM              W         L          T %         

Saints               5          5         0           .500

Buccaneers     4          5          0          .444

Falcons            4          6          0          .400

Panthers          1          8          0          .1 1 1



So, with no real options to change personnel, no realistic overhaul of the playbook and currently no chance that Young will be benched, the Panthers have only one option to win back any fan support. They have to be almost perfect for the remainder of the season.



Carolina Panthers Remaining Schedule

·         Week 11 Dallas Cowboys

·         Week 12 at Tennessee Titans 

·         Week 13 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers 

·         Week 14 at New Orleans Saints

·         Week 15 Atlanta Falcons

·         Week 16 Green Bay Packers 

·         Week 17 at Jacksonville Jaguars 

·         Week 18 Tampa Bay Buccaneers


Winning every game left on the schedule gives the Panthers an .870 percent chance of reaching the NFL playoffs. But even if the Panthers lose to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday but win the remaining games, they still have a .350 percent chance to make the playoffs. However, more than two losses among the remaining games on the Panthers’ schedule will result in less than .10 percent chance to make it into the post season.


The Panthers are set to host the Cowboys Sunday Nov. 19 at 1:00 p.m. ET


Log on to for our live pregame show at 11:15 a.m. and get ready for the action with analysis from the ADSN Gameday crew featuring Kevin Tolbert, Charles Arbuckle and more.



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