CHARLOTTE – Bryce Young has kept a pulse on what's happening in Houston. He's close friends with fellow rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud, who was taken second overall by the Texans, just behind him in this year's draft.
Young said he's happy for Stroud's success as he earned NFL Offensive Rookie of the Month for September behind two 300-plus yard passing games and became the first player in NFL history to total 1,200-plus passing yards and no interceptions through his first four starts.
"It's been really fun to just watch him as a fan of his game," Young said. "Being able to watch him have success means a lot. I'm close with him; he's a great person on and off the field. Being able to watch him have success, it's really fun to root him on."
And it's a supportive friendship between the two, and Young said he's focused on improving himself more than trying to compare himself to another first-year signal-caller.
"For me, I'm big on running my own race," Young said. "We're all super supportive of each other. With him, he'd say the same thing. We're all just supportive and want to see each other shine."
Young hasn't had the smoothest start to the NFL. He missed Week 3 at Seattle while recovering from an ankle injury and hasn't won a game yet, completing 65 percent of his passes for 503 yards passing, two touchdowns, and two interceptions with 61 yards rushing and three fumbles.
But his command of the offense has improved steadily, as he threw for 204 yards on a 78.13 completion percentage (25-of-32) and a 93.2 rating – all season-best marks to this point.
And he's locked in on finding that first win this season, so it's about focusing on himself.
"I have to focus on myself, trying to be better, and improving," Young said. "To do that, I have to put energy in myself. … But at the same time, I'm always rooting for him. It's great to see, but I just try to run my own race for whatever reasons going on. I try to control what I can control."
If Fitterer needs to involve Reich in any conversations, he will. Otherwise, Reich said his philosophy has remained the same since he started coaching: He'll focus on the players he has.
"This is the same answer for me all the time, every year I've been in this position. Once we get in season, I just want the guys we got, you know what I mean?" Reich said. "I love the guys we've got. We've got the guys we need to win. That's why, to me there, it makes sense to have the division of the GM and head coach.
"Scott is always going to be working to do his job to initiate. He's certainly going to involve me in those decisions if something comes up. But those aren't things that I'm going to him initiating on. I'm not initiating those discussions with him. He's doing what he's doing, looking to do his job. I'm coaching the guys that we've got, and I'm happy about the guys we got."
– Right guard Austin Corbett returned to practice Wednesday for the first time after tearing his ACL in last year's finale.
Corbett's nearly nine-month recovery has been chronicled monthly, and Reich said the veteran lineman's impact on the team during the rehab process has been palpable.
So getting him back was a big step.
"Excited to get Austin back there; you can feel his presence in the room, just kind of getting involved in meetings," Corbett said. "His work to get back here, he should be commended on how hard he worked to get back here in this timetable. And we'll let the process play out to see how fast he can get back out there."
The 21-day window for Corbett to return to play from the PUP list began Wednesday. Reich said Corbett will get "plenty of work" while remaining on a snap count through the early portion of his return.
Take a look at the best pictures from pregame, in-game, and postgame action from Sunday's game against the Vikings.