Bryce Young is in the midst of the absolute worst season of his career as a football player. And he will now finish that year without the head coach who drafted him to the pros.
In his first availability since both head coach Frank Reich and quarterbacks coach Josh McCown were fired by the Carolina Panthers on Monday, Young refused to allow the blame for the team’s 1-10 start and his development to fall on Reich.
The top pick in the 2023 NFL Draft said it is a shared responsibility that every member of the Panthers organization must shoulder.
“We all do. We all share in that,” Young said at the podium Wednesday. “We never want to see people get fired. We wanted to come in and conquer things together and accomplish our goals together. We all take responsibility in that.
“We all take ownership, especially offensively. It’s all of us. We all want to do better. It’s a collective unit. There’s no finger-pointing from players, coaches. Nothing. We all could have been better.”
That is a gross understatement.
Young has not just been bad; he has been historically bad in several categories. The 40 sacks he has taken in 2023 are the fifth-most ever by a rookie through his first 10 games since the stat started being recorded 60 years ago. His 8.7 yards per completion is dead last among rookies (minimum 10 starts) since 1996. And only the New York Jets’ Zach Wilson (30.9) has a worse QBR than Young (32.1) this season.
After trading away two first-round picks and wideout D.J. Moore to the Chicago Bears to move up eight spots to the No. 1 pick in the draft … this is not the return on investment the Panthers were looking for.
Young lamented seeing Reich relieved and facing the sobering reality of the business.
“It’s really hard,” he said. “These are real relationships … people’s lives. We spend, I don’t know, almost every hour of the day in this building. Day after day after day is spent. You build strong bonds, strong relationships over that time. … It’s hard. It’s a really harsh reality of the business.”
As Young said, this is a shared responsibility for the team, especially the offense, which ranks 30th in total yards and 29th in scoring and has scored 20 or more points only three times this season.
The biggest positive for Young in this entire ordeal is that Panthers owner David Tepper openly supported the quarterback when addressing the decision to fire Reich.
With six more games to go in the regular season, the name of the game is progress at this point.
“We are totally confident in that pick,” Tepper said. “The people that made that pick first would be totally confident in that. Some of them you could ask. And for me, I’m totally confident in agreeing with that pick.”