I think it was the latter scenario. Keep in mind, you learn as much(sometimes more) from seeing bad performances from employees as you do good ones. Now he is at least aware of the red flags that can exist.
Also, I believe he was on record as saying his first season in Carolina was more about fixing the organizational flaws on the business side of the Panthers(something he didn't have a learning curve to deal with).
It seems like he has been fairly methodical about the changes, rather than burning it all to the ground at once and trying to rebuild everything from ashes.
Kid has what hey call a "live arm". Ball just explodes out of his motions. I can see why analysts compare his style to Mahomes. He is crazy accurate throwing deep and on the move. I doubt he falls to 8.