Rookie Bryce Young moved closer to become the Panthers’ starting quarterback against veteran Andy Dalton on Thursday. Here’s what you need to know:
- Young took on all of the first-team reps during Thursday’s OTA practice, the only OTA session open to the media this week.
- Coach Frank Reich said he and general manager Scott Fitterer targeted the transition time this week to push Young to the top of the depth chart above Dalton.
- Reich and Fitterer informed both quarterbacks of the change last week.
- Dalton and Young both took first-team reps in organized team activity practices.
- Dalton signed with the Panthers in March and mentored third-team Young and Matt Corral.
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Young sits as QB1, but not ‘starter’
From the moment the Panthers drafted Young with the No. 1 pick, there’s no question the Heisman Trophy winner from Alabama would be the starting quarterback in Week 1. And while Reich isn’t ready yet Upon making the announcement, the first-year Panthers coach was ready to move Young ahead of Dalton on the depth chart.
So when will Reich be comfortable enough to officially name Young the starter?
“Not yet,” Reich said. “It shows everything you want to see. But it even goes back to the draft decision – you don’t make a decision until you have to. We’re just giving him and our team the opportunity to improve and earn that starting role.
Young had a good day Thursday, including a long touchdown pass to DJ Chark on the left sideline. Chark wasn’t the first read on the play, but Young unleashed a nice spiral at receiver.
“I can tell you now that he has the respect of everyone in this locker room, and he hasn’t done anything to lose that respect,” Chark said of Young. “He just keeps winning it. We are there for him…and we believe he can take us to great places. — Person
Dalton 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 option as a back-up in a pinch for the Panthers.
The quarterback was ninth in passer rating (95.2) and 10th in completion percentage (66.7) among qualified quarterbacks (33 qualified) last season. His expected added points rate per return (via TruMedia) was slightly below the league average ranking, ranking 20th at 0.02. He excelled against the blitz, however, with a 0.17 EPA per drop rate in those situations, which ranks No. 6 among qualified QBs.
The Saints went 6-8 with Dalton under center last season. — Incumbent
Carolina selected Young with the No. 1 pick after the quarterback rushed for more than 8,000 yards in two seasons as Alabama’s starting quarterback. Young won the Heisman Trophy in 2021 when he threw for 4,872 yards and 47 touchdowns in 15 games.
Dalton has been there before. He signed with the Bears in 2021 a month before Chicago snapped up 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 Jameis Winston was injured. The Bengals selected Dalton in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft, the same year the Panthers took QB Cam Newton at No. 1.
Dalton, 35, previously said he tried to help Young, 21, with some of the little things during the transition to the NFL, such as group in and out mechanics.
“I think his understanding of football is really top-notch,” Dalton said of Young. “You can tell from the start that he has it.”
(Photo: Jim Dedmon/USA Today)