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Panthers expect Bryce Young to miss 1-2 games (Athletic)


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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Bryce Young missed one game in three seasons at Alabama due to injury. The Carolina Panthers’ rookie quarterback will match that total in three games in the NFL.

The team announced Young is not expected to play Sunday at Seattle after the No. 1 pick missed his second consecutive practice Thursday with an ankle injury sustained in a 20-17 loss to the New Orleans Saints on Monday night.

The Panthers do not expect Young to miss more than a game or two.

Veteran Andy Dalton, signed to serve as a mentor to Young and as an injury contingency, will start against the SeahawksJake Luton, brought back on the practice squad this week, will back up Dalton.

Young’s injury will rekindle the pre-draft discussions that his 5-foot-10, 204-pound frame is ill-suited to withstand the rigors of a 17-game NFL season. But Panthers offensive coordinator Thomas Brown said the fact that Young was injured in the first half and finished the game against the Saints speaks to his durability.

“There was no flinch by him at all. There was no mention of any injury throughout the game, which shows his toughness overall,” Brown said. “So that should never be in question — him or anybody else.”

Nobody seems to know the specific play on which Young was hurt against New Orleans. Panthers coach Frank Reich said he didn’t hear anything about it until learning that Young received treatment after the game Monday and didn’t think much of it until Young was still on the injury report Tuesday. (Young hasn’t been made available to the media since his post-game press conference.)

Some online conspiracy theorists have suggested the Panthers are using the ankle issue as a way to give Young a reset after just two games. The Panthers (0-2) are about to make a cross-country flight during a short week to play in one of the NFL’s toughest environments, and it’s not as if the offense has been rolling under Young.

The Panthers rank 28th in total offense, last in passing offense and are tied for last in scoring (13.5 points a game) with the Las Vegas Raiders and Cincinnati Bengals. Young is the NFL’s second lowest-rated passer ahead of only the New York Jets’ Zach Wilson.

Young and Jimmy Garoppolo are the only quarterbacks without a completion longer than 30 yards. Young’s average of 4.2 yards per attempt is the third-lowest for a player’s first two games NFL history with a minimum of 50 attempts, according to ESPN Stats & Info.

But the Panthers’ offensive problems extend well beyond Young. The pass protection against the Saints was abysmal and the next time a Panthers’ receiver gets open by more than half a stride will be the first time.

Whether or not you subscribe to the reset theory, it does seem like the Panthers are being extra cautious with Young, and all but ruled him out a day earlier than they needed to. The team was careful not to expose Young to unnecessary hits during the preseason, then brought Dalton in for a couple of short-yardage situations against the Saints.

As mentioned, it’s unclear when Young was injured. But he was still running around in the fourth quarter against the Saints, ripping off a 26-yard scramble on third-and-11 with no apparent limitations. On his final play, Young rolled to his right, planted hard in the artificial turf and threw back for a successful two-point conversion to Adam Thielen. A short time later Young was in the training room getting treatment.

Offensive lineman Austin Corbett, who underwent ACL surgery in January, said Young is in good hands with the Panthers’ medical staff.

“I have complete trust in our doctors. I’ve been working every single day with them for eight months. Whatever they’re saying, whatever they’re seeing with what they need to do with Bryce, that’s what they’re gonna do,” Corbett said. “I think we made a turning point in this game, kind of the culture shift of being smarter with guys rather than just shooting people up (with painkillers) and being back on the field.”

There’s no sense in rushing back Young if he’s less than 100 percent. This was always going to be a rebuilding year, and getting a week (or more) to take a breath and heal up probably isn’t the worst thing. Dalton said there are two trains of thought on that.

“You can take a step back, you get to see the game from a different perspective,” Dalton said. “But also the best thing is playing. Experience is the best thing for you to make you better.”

Reich, a backup quarterback throughout his 13-year career, said he has a lot of confidence in Dalton, who went 6-8 after taking over for Jameis Winston last year in New Orleans.

“This is why you bring someone like Andy in,” Reich said Wednesday. “Our goal is to put our team in position to win championships. Even despite a tough start, that’s still our vision. That’s still our goal. That’s what we’re working towards. And my experience as a player and as a coach is that you’re gonna need somebody for one game or two or three somewhere along the line. And you’re gonna need to win those games. If Andy plays, we believe he gives us a very good chance to win.”

Dalton, who broke into the NFL at the same time as Cam Newton in 2011, said Young has handled this week well and remained “locked in … like any other week.”

Dalton laughed when asked if this week has been more fun, saying: “For me, obviously.”

The 36-year-old Texan has experienced just about everything in this league, and won’t be fazed by the crowd noise at the Seahawks’ Lumen Field. Brown, the first-year coordinator, said Dalton’s experience has been evident this week when discussing what plays he likes against Seattle’s various defensive looks.

Maybe the offensive line gives Dalton better protection, the receivers find a few windows and the Panthers pull the upset against a Seattle team favored by 5.5 points. Reich said he believes the Panthers are close to scoring 28 or 30 points. Well, the Seahawks are giving up 30.5 points a game while letting opponents convert an NFL-high 60.7 percent of third downs.

So maybe this is the week. Even if it is, Dalton has been around long enough to know the score.

“My goal is to win, especially here. This is Bryce’s thing,” he said. “I’m not here to make this a competition, make this anything. I’m here to help the team.”

Edited by Samppson
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Just now, ForJimmy said:

Meh winning games with Dalton doesn’t do much in a year we are trying to develop our rookie QB. Unless people actually believe this team is a playoff team and needs some wins ASAP. Anyone believe that right now?

Reich was adamant the play calling wasn't the issue. Just saying.

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3 minutes ago, poundaway said:

He finished the game, did his press conference, all without a limp, didn't report the injury until Monday and now they're  talking TWO games?

I think Young’s development is going to poo with this super staff and Fitts.  They are giving him a mental break.

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7 minutes ago, poundaway said:

He finished the game, did his press conference, all without a limp, didn't report the injury until Monday and now they're  talking TWO games?

The game he was injured was on *gasps* Monday…he received treatment immediately after the game.

It says no more than 2 games expected if we are taking this article as our source of truth for whatever reason.

I know reading comprehension is difficult sometimes.

Edited by therealmjl
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3 minutes ago, LinvilleGorge said:

Reich was adamant the play calling wasn't the issue. Just saying.

Then the QB he went all in on was the issue. It’s not a win for him if Dalton looks much better. I don’t understand why people don’t see this?

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1 minute ago, PleaseCutStewart said:

It could be interesting - if the offense looks better under Dalton, I don't see any way you bring Bryce back in until Dalton starts looking bad. Honestly, Dalton sucks also so I imagine we will see Bryce back in soon.

Reich did say that he likes QBs to be in the 6 foot range during off-season interviews before the draft but Bryce is special. 

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