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NFL: SEP 18 Saints at Panthers

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The Panthers are ready to head for Seattle as they look to pick up their first win of the season and they will most likely be doing it without their starting quarterback.

The team announced shortly after the conclusion of practice on Thursday that Bryce Young isn’t expected to play after he missed his second straight day of practice with what the team is classifying as an ankle sprain. Offensive coordinator Thomas Brown spoke with the media prior to the practice and said that the injury was suffered sometime during the first half of the team’s 20-17 loss to the New Orleans Saints, but, like head coach Frank Reich, he couldn’t point to a specific play where it occurred.

This injury is just a small part of the criticism for the rookie, who has gotten off to a slower start than many expected. In the first two games of the season, Young has amassed just 299 passing yards and two touchdowns, while turning the ball over three times. His 4.2 yards per attempt passing in the first two games of his career is third-worst in NFL history according to ESPN Stats and Info, topped only by worse starts from former San Diego Charger Billy Joe Tolliver and former Baltimore Raven Kyle Boller.

While the rookie has to shoulder some of the blame for that, there are a lot of other factors that go into his sluggish start. With his two starting guards out (or playing hurt in the case of Brady Christensen in the first game), Young has been the fourth-most pressure quarterback in the league according Pro Football Focus, being sacked six times and pressured on 15.8% of his snaps. Meanwhile, his wide receivers have failed to create separation, forcing him to have to throw into tight windows constantly as many analyst have pointed out.

With Young likely out, the task will fall to Andy Dalton, the veteran backup that the team added in the offseason from the rival New Orleans Saints. In his 12 years at the NFL level, Dalton has started 162 games, posting a 83-77-2 record in those contests. The staff appears plenty confident that he can slot right in and give them a chance to beat the Seahawks in Seattle.

Portions of the Panther fanbase have been asking the question of whether or not this injury is a way of quietly benching Young after what they from him in the first two games of the season. There would be no way of telling if this is true, but NFL on CBS analyst Charles Davis said this morning on the Mac & Bone Show that this strategy might bring more success, but it is far from a guarantee. “In the short term, would it be better? I think the answer’s yeah. Let’s say Andy Dalton has to play on Sunday, does it get dramatically better? Those receivers still have to uncover down field. That was not on Bryce.”

Davis was also asked if sitting Young might be the best thing for his growth and he pushed back on that as well. “I see nothing gained by him sitting. He’s not the type of kid that, a few bumps along the way, he’s going to run and hide and need that timeout. I think he’s a competitor through and through. I think he needs to see it, he needs process it and get him better by playing.”

Tomorrow will be the final day of practice for the team and will provide even more clarity before the team travels to Seattle on Saturday. The game will kickoff Sunday at 4:05 PM with Countdown to Kickoff starting at 2:00 PM live from the Carolina Ale House in Concord right here on WFNZ.