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Notebook: Starting offense to play vs. Lions, Bryce Young's staying ready 

Bryce Young

CHARLOTTE – The question was answered Monday. Bryce Young and the Panthers' starting offense will see some playing time in this Friday's preseason finale against the Lions.

Head coach Frank Reich said how much they'll play has yet to be decided, but they're going into it looking for more rhythm and key points.

"Sometimes a lot of teams won't play their starters in the last preseason game," Reich said in a press conference. "We're going to play Bryce and play our offensive starters. (We) still want to get more reps; I think we had about 20 last week or something like that. It's kind of TBD again. It could be about the same, could be a little less, could be a little bit more. (We would) like to get a little rhythm going, accomplish certain things. So we'll play it by ear."

Young and the starters officially played 21 offensive snaps at New York, stringing together their first scoring drive that ended with a field goal.

Young has attempted just 12 passes, but he continued to express his faith in the coaches' plans for him and his workload – much like the message he gave after the Giants game Friday. 

"This is by design," Young said. "I trust the coaches wholeheartedly in their approach, what they're doing, the play-calling, everything. 

"For me, I've never played in a preseason game. Like there's scrimmages in high school, I guess, but I've never played a game (where) the starters are playing as much as they can. Obviously, that's part of the league. It's just something that's new for me to adjust to.

"But our coaching staff, they've been here for years. They've had a ton of success. I have all the respect in the world for them. They don't wake up the day before the game and just try to figure it out. They have a reason. They have a plan. Whatever that is, I don't question it. I just go in and try to execute."

The Panthers are going through their last week of preseason preparation with a schedule similar to the one they'll set up for the regular season, which is another step for Young in his progression.

But he's staying ready, like all the starters are, regardless of whether he'll play three series (like he did against the Jets), two series (like he did against the Giants), more, or less. 

Young said regardless of his snap count or the number of passes he attempts in the preseason, he and the offense will be ready for Sept. 10 at Atlanta.

It's part of the gig. 

"That's our job – it's to stay ready, make sure that we're always prepared," Young said. "I feel like there's definitely stuff I want to improve on and get better at. There's stuff throughout this week that we're looking at to grow in. And this is a different week now process-wise. So this is kind of another step in the direction of having a more game-like process, scheduling, and things like that.

"It's great to have that under our belt. But of course, it's our job to be ready and stay ready. And we understand when the regular season starts, but we have to do everything we can to work toward that, day in and day out."

– Reich said defensive lineman Marquan McCall was waived Monday for two reasons: fitting into the scheme, and other players stepping up along the defensive line.

"It does come down to the two things that we're talking about – it really comes down to fit with a certain scheme and style that we're looking for, and then some of the young guys that we've brought in have really risen to the challenge," Reich said. "It's been very competitive. This next week is, for us coaches, as tough as it gets. Because you feel like, legitimately, I feel like every guy on our 90-man roster is good enough to make a 53-man roster. When you get to this point, it's pretty tough."

Reich wished McCall well and said he expected the second-year lineman to make a 53-man roster elsewhere.

– The Panthers practiced in full pads on a steamy Monday afternoon, and a number of previously injured players returned to the field dressed out.

Among the group of returners was running back Miles Sanders (groin), quarterback Andy Dalton (back), kicker Eddy Piñeiro (groin), outside linebacker Marquis Haynes Sr. (back), and wide receiver Derek Wright (knee).

Running back Chuba Hubbard, who injured his ankle at New York, also practiced and appeared to be fine.

Miles Sanders

– Some injured players remained out, as offensive lineman Cade Mays (neck), defensive end Henry Anderson (foot), outside linebacker Jordan Thomas (thumb), tackle Cameron Erving (ankle), and wide receiver Terrace Marshall Jr. (back) did not practice while they recover.

Cornerback Donte Jackson (ankle), guard Deonte Brown (hamstring), cornerback Stantley Thomas-Oliver III (undisclosed), and special-teamer/safety Sam Franklin Jr. (undisclosed) were new additions to the list of those who did not participate.

– Rookie outside linebacker DJ Johnson left practice Monday on a cart. Athletic trainers had been checking out the area around his left knee before he departed the field. But he was able to walk to the tent to get checked under his own power.

– Rookie guard Chandler Zavala continued to work with the first-team offensive line after playing alongside the group for the two starting offense's two series against the Giants.

Zavala suited up in full pads for just the third time as an NFL lineman, as he spent training camp in Spartanburg recovering from a hamstring injury. With starter Austin Corbett recovering from his ACL injury and Mays nursing a neck injury, Zavala showed enough at New York to earn the reps despite his truncated camp.

– Since the Panthers are approaching this week of preseason prep like a regular season game week, some of their backups moved to scout team roles in practice for the first time this preseason. Select players lined up in red or green vests to emulate key Detroit players for the defense to lock in on, and starters on the first defensive line flashed.

Defensive tackle Derrick Brown got to Matt Corral as he attempted a pass during one of the scout periods, nearly swallowing him up and batting the pass away with a thump.

View photos of the Panthers practicing on Monday before their preseason finale against the Lions.

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