Reich says Bryce Young and Panthers are on verge of something big. Do you believe it?

Frank Reich feels it coming. You may not feel it, and I sure don’t feel it, but Reich said late Monday night after Carolina’s 20-17 home loss to New Orleans that rookie quarterback Bryce Young and the Panthers’ offense are very close to succeeding. “I’ve seen this before,” Reich insisted.

“It’s not that far away. It looks bad. But I don’t think it’s that far away.

We make a couple of plays here and there and, next thing you know, you’ve got 28-30 points. I know that’s true. I know we have the players and coaches to do it.

I have zero doubt about that. ” The Panthers (0-2) better hope that is true, because what fans saw Monday night in the 2023 home opener at Bank of America Stadium was more of the same. Same as Week 1, and same as the past five years.

Here is the key part of Frank Reich’s opening statement after the 20-17 loss to the Saints, where he says the Panthers are close to breaking through and scoring “28-30 points” after two weeks of a combined 27 so far. pic. twitter.

com/etkV1yfmHB — Scott Fowler (@scott_fowler) September 19, 2023 Before an electric home crowd and the Monday Night Football spotlight, Carolina didn’t complete a truly deep pass for the second week in a row. The Panthers’ entire offensive output consisted of three field goals until the game’s final two minutes, when they made things a little more interesting with their first 20-yard pass play of the season (a 22-yard deep out to rookie Jonathan Mingo) as well as a late touchdown throw and two-point conversion. That promisins sequence sliced a 20-9 New Orleans lead to 20-17, and if Carolina had then recovered the onside kick with 1:21 to go, it could have been really interesting.

But the Panthers didn’t recover it — remind me if they’ve ever recovered one of those at a key moment in team history — and New Orleans easily ran out the clock. By then, Bank of America Stadium was 70% empty and the early enthusiasm had long dissipated. Young even heard scattered boos for Carolina’s offense at times in his home debut, after the Panthers chose to run the ball at the end of the first half and then once more after Young short-hopped a pass into the artificial turf, several yards short of the receiver.

Reich took the blame for one of Young’s interceptions last week and in general protects his quarterback a lot better than Carolina’s offensive line (as he should; this franchise depends on Young getting better quickly). And the coach insisted those boos weren’t really about Young at all. Carolina Panthers quarterback Bryce Young takes his helmet off during the 4th quarter at the Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.

C. , on Monday, September 18, 2023. “I don’t think that’s Bryce,” Reich said.

“I mean, that’s on me. That’s on our team. So that’s part of it.

So — I don’t like it. Believe me, we want to give the fans wins, and an exciting brand of football. That’s what we’re planning on doing.

It’s a process. We’re two games into a 17-game season. Things haven’t gone the way we want, but nobody’s throwing in the towel.

It’s a long year. ” New Orleans (2-0) has an elite defense and the Saints got to or near Young repeatedly without blitzing. Young completed 22 of 33 passes for a modest 153 yards, with a late touchdown and two-point pass to Adam Thielen.

Young didn’t throw any interceptions this week, which was an improvement. But he lost a fumble in the red zone — he took the blame for it, saying he wasn’t “secure with the ball” — and later lost another one that was fortunately negated by a defensive penalty. The old question about Young’s 5-foot-10 height came up in his press conference afterward.

“I don’t know what it’s like to be tall, to be honest with you,” Young said, politely dismissing the question. “There’s a lot of things I can improve on. There’s a lot of things I can get better at.

” But what’s happening — or not happening — for the Panthers’ offense is not all on Young. Far from it. He often played well Monday when he had time to throw the ball.

His patched-up offensive line allowed him to get sacked four times and harassed many more. His receivers, as usual, had trouble achieving much separation. Young can still make a great play on his own.

The Panthers’ longest offensive play of the night — and of this season so far — was his broken-field scramble in which he left New Orleans safety Marcus Maye grasping for air on third-and-11 and bolted for 26 yards. Carolina Panthers quarterback Bryce Young, center, stands in the pocket looking to pass as the New Orleans Saints defense rushes during late fourth-quarter action at Bank of America Stadium on Monday, September 18, 2023. The Saints defeated the Panthers 20-17.

But Young also will remind you he’s a rookie at times. On another critical play in the same fourth-quarter drive, Carolina running back Miles Sanders had to give Young a gentle pre-snap shove so that the QB would move to his left. Young had accidentally lined up behind the right guard in the shotgun formation.

Young got into the correct position and took the snap without incident, but on that third-and-3 from the New Orleans 13, he scrambled a while and then took a 5-yard sack. It was a bad 30-second sequence. Throwing the ball away there at least would have given the Panthers a shot at going for it on fourth-and-3; instead, the Panthers were forced into their third field goal of the night.

Because of inefficiencies like that, plus a variety of penalties and lack of a consistent running game, the Panthers have scored 10 and 17 points in their two games so far this season, for a total of 27. So Reich saying that 28-30 points is right around the corner, in a single game? It’d be fun to watch. But I’m not going to believe it until I see it.


Scott Fowler
Filed 09.20.2023

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