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Quarterbacks are back in black, and loving it

Bryce Young

CHARLOTTE — It's a little thing, really. But it might speak to a larger point that they're trying to drive home around here.

When the Panthers' quarterbacks took the practice field Monday morning, the three quarterbacks still stood out in stark relief but were looking a little different.

"Ohhhhhh, you've got the blacks on, nice," quarterbacks coach Josh McCown said with a note of surprise and delight when he came into the Atrium Health Dome to warm up with his three passers.

Bryce Young, Andy Dalton, and Matt Corral were indeed wearing black practice jerseys, a departure from the norm during the offseason program and OTAs. Previously this year, they were always in red, the traditional look for quarterbacks so they stand out and their teammates know not to touch them during practice.

But the Panthers, as you might have noticed, don't have any red in their game-day palette.

"Nothing behind it, just staying with the color scheme," Dalton said. "But you do feel like you're more of a part of it."

Steve Smith, Matt Corral, Andy Dalton

They'll still be in a contrasting color each day. On Monday, the offense was wearing blue jerseys and the defense white, so the quarterbacks still clearly stood out. And when they change it up during the season — the offense generally practices in the jersey color the team will wear that week — there's always a contrasting third color to wear.

While the red jerseys are the league-wide norm to separate quarterbacks visually, it's not an ironclad rule. When Dalton was in Cincinnati and Chicago, the quarterbacks wore orange to practice, but again, that was part of those teams' color scheme. The Panthers have had red practice jerseys for years as a default option and typically wore those (McCown did when he played here), but there were interludes.

Andy Dalton

There was a time when the quarterbacks were in green jerseys in 2020. When 44-year-old Vinny Testaverde came here in the middle of the 2007 season, he requested that quarterbacks wear the same color as the rest of the offense in practice, citing, among other things, a sense of togetherness with the rest of his teammates.

Coaches still want to protect their quarterbacks, so the jerseys will always be visible reminders not to touch them (and when they practice against another team, they'll obviously be back in red), but when Dalton went to head coach Frank Reich last week to ask about the change, there was no objection.

Bryce Young

So equipment manager Don Toner and his staff — who are ready for anything on a moment's notice — quickly made the three jerseys so the quarterbacks would look good on Monday and beyond.

"Oh, man. They did well for us today," Corral said when asked about the equipment guys hooking them up. "Not just me, the whole group. Like Andy always says, keep people on their toes. Change up the swag a little here and there.

"All props to Andy, all his idea for sure. But they look good. We're going to stand out, regardless."

Dalton shrugged off any suggestion that he was any kind of a fashion plate but thought it was a small tweak that might help.

"We're staying in the color scheme, you know? You might as well make it look like part of the team than something different," the veteran quarterback said. "We'll end up wearing whatever the offense and defense aren't wearing. There are times when they'll switch the jerseys up, and we'll be in blue. I think it's a good look.

"It was just a thought; why not stay with the colors? I think a lot of people liked it. . . . It looks good, though."

View photos of Panthers practice on June 5.

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