Panthers name Bryce Young team’s Week 1 starting QB vs. Falcons

Coach Frank Reich wasted no time selecting rookie for Sept. 10 game.
The Carolina Panthers arrived to training camp Tuesday.
Published: Jul. 26, 2023 at 1:51 PM EDT
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SPARTANBURG, S.C. (AP) — The Carolina Panthers have their QB1.

Coach Frank Reich wasted no time naming rookie Bryce Young, the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft, the starting quarterback for the team’s Sept. 10 regular-season opener against the Atlanta Falcons.

“When we decided to pick Bryce we imagined and saw the vision that we would be standing here today saying he is the QB1,” Reich said Wednesday.

Related: Panthers report to training camp with rookie QB, new head coach

The announcement came after the completion of Young’s first training camp practice at Wofford College, although the news seemed imminent after he took over first-team reps from veteran Andy Dalton during organized team activities in June.

Young, a two-year starter at Alabama and the 2021 Heisman Trophy winner, will become the first rookie to start a season opener for the Panthers since Cam Newton. Newton was also a No. 1 pick and went on to earn league MVP honors for the 2015 season.

Reich vowed to be patient as Young develops as a rookie.

“We want to keep our expectations on the process and not try to make too much of any one play or any one game,” Reich said. “I think that is wisdom, that is good coaching and that is good playing. When we have a bad play, nobody is going to panic. And Bryce knows he is going to feel that from our staff. That has already been said: ‘Hey, you’re the guy, let’s go.’”

Reich said he knows there will be some ups and downs this season.

“Nobody here is going to try to predict how it is going to play out the first year,” he said. “You just don’t know. As coaches and players we are going to try to make every attempt to avoid doing that.”

Young called it “a huge blessing” to be named the starter so early in camp.

“That means a lot, but for me it doesn’t change my approach,” Young said. “I want to make sure I take things day by day. There are a lot of things that I want to keep growing in, keep improving in. We are all as a team in this together.”

The undersized-but-highly successful Young looked sharp in his first nonpadded practice at Wofford, working mostly on 6-on-8 drills.

His first two passes went for completions to veteran acquisition Adam Thielen, who signed with the Panthers after spending the past 10 seasons with the Minnesota Vikings.

Young’s parents, Craig and Julie, attended their son’s first training camp practice and watched from the sideline.

“It was kind of like I was practicing. I couldn’t sleep last night,” Craig Young with a laugh. “I was like I can’t wait to get here, see him in the uniform and see him in the element.”

Julie Young said she is “beyond” proud of her son.