The Carolina Panthers traded up to No. 1 overall to draft Alabama quarterback Bryce Young, but the rookie must earn the QB1 gig.
Coach Frank Reich said over the weekend that Young, as the “new guy,” will take the second-team reps when voluntary OTAs kick off on May 23. Andy Dalton will open with the starters.
“Yeah, Bryce will get a lot of reps,” Reich said Saturday. “As we said, when he’s ready, when it’s best for the team, that’s when we’ll look to make a transition. Right now, we come back out Monday, Andy will be taking reps with the 1s, Bryce will be with the 2s.
“Bryce is gonna get a lot of reps. Likely even get a few more than Andy, just as the new guy. And the good thing with Andy is, he’s logged a lot in the last few weeks and as a savvy veteran, he still needs to work. But we’ll focus on getting Bryce, as the younger played, focused on getting him as many reps as we can.”
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It’s not wholly unusual for a coach to put a veteran starter ahead of a rookie to start offseason workouts at any position. The logic at this stage is that the younger player’s talent will rise to the top throughout the offseason. Plus, as Reich noted, often, the second- and third-teamers take more reps in the early phases of the offseason program.
A 12-year veteran, Dalton started 14 games last year for the New Orleans Saints, throwing for 2,871 yards with 18 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He’s a fine replacement-level veteran who won’t kill an offense, but won’t raise all boats either.
Carolina brought Dalton to town as a veteran mentor for its rookie QB. Part of that gig is to hold down the first-team fort (installing the offense, etc.) until the first-rounder is ready.
It’s not a big deal that Young isn’t QB1 right now. All that matters is he’s in the big chair by training camp and into Week 1. Given the hefty praise Young’s already received, he’ll get there soon. The current pecking order is coaching semantics.
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