Panthers QB Bryce Young draws praise for staying calm under pressure

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Carolina Panthers rookie quarterback Bryce Young has been under duress for many of his preseason snaps in the NFL, but his head coach thinks he’s passing the test.

Frank Reich said that this year’s No. 1 overall draft pick “looked sharp” in his second preseason game despite being under constant pressure against the New York Giants on Friday. 

“[He] put together a nice drive,” Reich told reporters of Young’s outing, which lasted just two series. “Would have liked to have finished it off [with a touchdown]. Obviously, unhappy with the number of penalties we had.

“But I thought Bryce looked sharp. I think he wanted to throw the ball more, but I thought he looked sharp.”

Young didn’t have eye-popping stats in Friday’s game. He was 3-of-6 passing for 35 yards, but he was met by a Giants defender on more occasions than he would’ve liked. He was pressured on 42.9% of his dropbacks on Friday, according to Next Gen Stats. He was sacked once and scrambled for just a 1-yard gain as a result of those pressures. He took a roughing the passer penalty, too.

Reich praised Young’s ability to sense pressure and blitzes as he was only taken down once.

“I think he was seeing it really well,” Reich said of Young’s ability to see the pass rush. “They did blitz a few times. We’ll see the film, but I think we made the right protection call every time. I just felt like he was comfortable and poised in the pocket and seeing what he was supposed to see.”

Even with the constant pressure, Young was able to march the Panthers down the field on his second drive of the game. He completed passes to second-round draft pick Jonathan Mingo and veteran Adam Thielen to move the chains, with the former picking up a 15-yard gain.

Even though the Panthers put up just three points on Young’s two drives, it was an improvement from what they got in their first preseason game against the New York Jets. The Panthers were shut out in that game, with Young completing four of his six pass attempts for 21 yards.

The Panthers lost 21-19 on Friday, but Young was pleased to see some progression.

“It’s always good to put points on the board,” Young told reporters. “That’s a huge goal for us as an offense. It feels good, but it’s just a day-by-day approach. Watching the film, I always feel there’s room for improvement. I’m trying and growing day by day.

“So, I think the more reps, more experience, especially when you get to go against another team in [that] environment, it’s another valuable experience for me. Especially at this stage.”

Young also noticed an improvement in one major area that could be a reason he was only sacked once.

“I think, communication-wise as a unit that we did a couple of different things, and for the most part, I thought we handled that well,” Young said when asked what was better than from the preseason opener. “That’s not just me. That’s with the entire O-line and with the receivers and running backs, too. Making sure we’re on the same page. Operationally, we added a couple of things.

“There’s always room for improvement, but we handled that well. That’s definitely one positive.”

Friday might have been Young’s final game action before his rookie season officially begins. Reich didn’t say if the quarterback would play in the Panthers’ preseason finale against the Detroit Lions next week, potentially resting his star in preparation for Week 1 against the Atlanta Falcons. 

“I’m going to trust the coaches,” Young said when asked if he felt ready for the regular season. “Honestly, I don’t know what the procedure is. I know coaches are different. I wholeheartedly trust the coaches and what their decision is.”

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