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Bryce Young has held up. "He's obviously very physically tough." 

Bryce Young

CHARLOTTE — When people wondered about the wisdom of drafting a smaller quarterback such as Bryce Young, one of the first concerns was about his durability. 

But after taking 59 sacks so far this season in 15 games, the Panthers rookie has at least shown he's resilient.

"He gets up every single time," backup quarterback Andy Dalton said with a nod Wednesday. "He's been hit a lot, and it hasn't affected him.

"Last week was the first time he ever sat down there on the ground, and you saw he didn't come out."

There's clearly a tone of respect when Dalton says it because no quarterback wants to get hit at all. Even when you're massive like Cam Newton was, the dangers are real, and the situation Young has found himself in is far from ideal.

The Panthers' projected starting guards (Brady Christensen and Austin Corbett) played five games between them because of injury, and they've had to use seven different players at left guard and eight at right guard this year. In addition to the depth chart realities that come with dipping that far down the line, there's also a lack of cohesion up front, as center Bradley Bozeman never knows from week to week who's going to be next to him.  

That helps explain the 59 sacks Young has been subjected to this year, a pace that puts him among the league's all-time leaders. 

Houston's David Carr is the record-holder by a large margin with the 76 sacks he absorbed as a rookie in 2002. 

But Young's 59 is the 11th-highest total of all time. He's been sacked an average of four times per game, so if that happens again, 63 would vault him to a tie for fourth on the all-time list (one spot ahead of former Panthers quarterback Steve Beuerlein, who was sacked 62 times in 2000).

All-time single-season times sacked leaders

Table inside Article
Sacks Quarterback Team
76 David Carr 2002 Houston
72 Randall Cunningham 1986 Philadelphia
68 David Carr 2005 Houston
63 Jon Kitna 2006 Detroit
62 Steve Beuerlein 2000 Carolina
62 DeShaun Watson 2018 Houston
62 Ken O'Brien 1985 NY Jets
61 Sam Howell 2023 Washington
61 Neil Lomax 1985 Arizona
60 Randall Cunningham 1992 Philadelphia
59 Bryce Young 2023 Carolina

That's a lot of contact, whether you're 5-foot-10 and 204 pounds, or 6-foot-5 and 245 like Newton was when he played here.

So, regardless of anything he's shown or not shown this year, Young has established that he can stay on the field.

"It just says who he is," interim coach Chris Tabor said. "I mean, he's obviously very physically tough. I think he's proven that the other area where he's extremely tough is mentally. I think I stated it two weeks ago after the Green Bay game when the mood was better. My thoughts on him haven't changed at all.

"He's a tough customer. He's a winner; he works at it. He has all the intangibles and really still like where he's going."

Asked to expound on that, Tabor put it as simply as it gets.

"The tape has answered those questions," he said. "He's taken some shots, but he pops right back up, and he dusts himself off, and he goes. So, to me, those narratives are just narratives. Obviously, he has shut those down, in my opinion."

Bryce Young

One of the bigger shots he's taken this season came last week, when Jaguars defensive lineman Roy Robertson-Harris dropped him, and Young was slow to get up.

But he said Wednesday there was never a consideration of coming out of the game, saying the fall was just "awkward."

"Just took a little bit longer to get up from," Young said. "But after that, I was able to walk back to the sideline, to the tent for a second; everything was all good, and I just wanted to do everything I could to get back. It was nothing serious, which definitely is a blessing."

Young said he wasn't necessarily trying to prove his toughness to people and has kept his focus on the primary goal, which is not just staying upright but getting his team into the end zone and winning more games in the future.

"My job as a quarterback is for us to win games, to lead the offense to lead the team to win games, and obviously we haven't done that," he said. "So there's a lot of things that I have to improve on, that we have to improve on. That's really all there is to go off of.

"So it's not all bad, not all good. There's stuff to build upon, and there's stuff to learn from and to grow from. But ultimately, the reason we're all here, what the league is all about is winning games, and I didn't do a good enough job of that at all."

But he did show he can take a hit, and there's no doubt about that now.

View photos from the Panthers' practice on Wednesday.

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