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Carolina Panthers

Bryce Young "intentional" about learning from early mistakes

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CHARLOTTE – Bryce Young hasn't won a game in the NFL yet, as the Panthers fell to 0-2 with a 20-17 loss to New Orleans on Monday Night Football.

The rookie quarterback's performance improved statistically from his Week 1 outing at Atlanta, completing 22-of-33 passes for 153 yards, one touchdown, and no interceptions. But Young was sacked four times and didn't put together a touchdown drive until the game was out of reach, ending his day with an 87.1 rating.

He also didn't stretch the field much, with his longest pass going for 22 yards and averaging 4.6 yards per attempt. That's better than the 3.8 yards per attempt last week, but still not what he needs to be at.

It has been a rocky start for Carolina's retooled offense and new coaching staff, but Young said they haven't lost sight of the fact that they're only two games into a long season. It's not over just because it has started slowly.

"Obviously, we're not where we need to be right now," Young said. "But there's no loss of confidence, no loss of faith in the locker room. I'm grateful to be a part of this team. I believe in the team. I believe in the coaching staff – feel like we have what it takes. We just have to execute and do a better job of putting it together."

It goes without saying that there are plenty of eyes waiting for Young and the offense to put it together.

Few people across the team know the pressure Young feels as a quarterback as well as his head coach does; Frank Reich once had the same job.

Now heading up this team and guiding his rookie quarterback, Reich said he understands the heat coming their way.

"I think Bryce is handling the pressure well," Reich said. "Listen, he's the quarterback – (and as) head coach (and) quarterback, we're going to take the heat, and that just comes with the territory. So you own that. And you understand that when you're in that position, and Bryce understands that for the position that he's in."

But Reich also acknowledged the obvious: It isn't all Young's fault. The Panthers' retooled offense, complete with new offensive skill players, including running back Miles Sanders, wide receivers Adam Thielen (Monday's receiving leader with 54 yards on seven receptions) and DJ Chark Jr. (who made his Panthers debut Monday), as well as the new faces filling in for injured starting guards along the offensive line, has to support him too.

"Our struggle on offense – it's not one person," Reich said. "I will look at the film, but I thought Bryce still did some really positive things, made some plays with his feet, made some good decisions, made good throws, showed plenty of things that we want to see. So I was encouraged by that.

"I know how hard it is to play that position. I've been around it a long time. And I know how dependent it is on everything. So we've all got to get better. Everybody's got to get better – coaches and players. So that's the way we work through it."

It's true that Young single-handedly posted the Panthers' longest play of the night on a 26-yard scramble late. His two scrambles totaled 34 yards, the second-best rushing total of any Panther in a night that saw them put up 100 yards on 19 attempts. That left 66 conventional rushing yards, a week after they ran for 154 in Atlanta.

Sanders, who led rushers despite putting up just 43 yards on 14 attempts (3.1 yards per attempt), acknowledged how the loss fell back on all the offense.

"(The Saints') defense had a better day," Sanders said. "The D-line had a better day, and I'm pretty sure that everybody else on the offense will own up to that. You've just got to watch the film and get better. …

"As an offense, it just wasn't our day."

To Chark, totaling one catch for 15 yards in his first appearance off the hamstring injury that had him miss Week 1, he sees the same thing. Young is doing all he can; it's up to them to work around him too.

"I think he's doing well," Chark said of Young. "He's taking what he gets. He was big for us down the stretch – that run he had. Just figuring out ways to help us out, and we have to help him out. Progress needs to be made on our end to help him out. This is just his second game."

For all the issues throughout most of the game, Young pieced together Carolina's lone touchdown drive, scoring with less than 1:30 on the clock.

They got in rhythm too late, but he connected with Thielen, Hayden Hurst, Chuba Hubbard, and Jonathan Mingo at times throughout on the 11-play, 75-yard drive that put the Panthers within a field goal (thanks to a successful two-point conversion try) and shaved just 1:58 off the clock.

They failed to recover an onside kick attempt, setting up for the game's conclusion in a slim New Orleans victory. 

"We were able to execute that drive," Young said. "But obviously, it was too little too late. But I think it was just being able to pull together and execute. A lot of times (against New Orleans), we were one thing away. I missed throws that should have kept the sticks moving, whatever it may be, but it was just execution. 

"I think we were in good spots to be successful. And we just didn't make enough plays to win, and it starts with me."

That accountability part has been the beginning for Young throughout his rookie trials, and maintaining that intentionality is what moves him forward.

"I'm just making sure that I'm intentional with how I learn from things throughout the week," Young said. "I'm intentional in honing in on my process, intentional of improving little things that I want to get done specifically. 

"I'm intentional in learning and making sure that I'm able to not just see something, but make sure that I can grow from it. Again, I think it's just a lot about being intentional with that stuff."

View all the action from the Panthers' game against New Orleans on Monday Night Football.

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