Bryce Young came to Carolina a winner. He was a winner in high school and he was a winner in college. What Young has not been is a winner as a professional.
It’s not uncommon for rookie quarterbacks to struggle in the league, and while no one expected Bryce to lead Carolina to the Super Bowl in year one, no one expected the Panthers to be sitting at 1-9 and with the worst record in the NFL either.
It’s not just that the Panthers are losing. It’s the way they’re losing. Through eleven weeks the Panthers’ offense has no identity and has shown no improvement week to week. In fact, Carolina’s 187 total nets yards in Sunday’s 33-10 loss to the Dallas Cowboys was a season low.
Simply put, the Panthers are regressing.
Concerns about the beating Young is taking to his body week to week behind a porous offensive line are valid, but what’s equally important is the beating he’s taking mentally.
“I don’t, because of who he is as a person,” head coach Frank Reich said when I asked him if he has any concerns about how the losing mentally effects his rookie signal caller. “I’m sure Bryce has his struggles. But I also believe that he’s got an inner strength that has helped him get to where he’s gotten to. Even though we all know he’s won a lot of games in high school and college, I think he’s made to handle stuff like this and I don’t think he’ll accept it.”
“I lean in on my faith through ups and downs,” Young said when asked about Reich’s comment. “I don’t expect anything, good or bad. I believe God guides my life, big picture. What happens, that’s out of my control. I trust God through everything. I lean on my faith, lean on my teammates and lean on the coaching staff. Of course it’s not ideal. It’s tough. It’s hard. But it’s for a reason. What that reason is, that’s not for me to know. Not for me to dwell on.”
Bryce has been handling things impressively well. This season hasn’t been easy. For anyone. But it may be the toughest on him. A 1-9 record. No noticeable improvement. Seeing CJ Stroud’s success and constantly being measured against it. That would have an effect on anyone. What’s important, at this point, is for the Panthers to find some way to end the season on a bright note. Not for this year (it’s a wash), but to provide hope for seasons to come, because believe it or not, losing and losing often does wear on you.