David NewtonESPN staff writer2 min read
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Carolina Panthers rookie quarterback Bryce Young will miss a week or two with a sprained ankle suffered in Monday night’s loss to the New Orleans Saints, coach Frank Reich said Friday.
The top pick in the 2023 NFL Draft will be replaced by veteran Andy Dalton, starting with Sunday’s game at Seattle.
Despite Carolina’s 0-2 start under Young, Reich said the former Alabama star will return as the starter when healthy no matter how well Dalton plays. Reich did not rule out next week’s home game against Minnesota, noting that Young has already been medically cleared to travel to Seattle.
“Bryce did a good job this week. I’m optimistic he’s on the right track,” Reich said. No matter how soon he could come back, he would come back. “When he comes back, he will be our man.”
But Reich says he’s confident in Dalton, calling him one of the “32 best quarterbacks in the NFL.”
“this person [is] “Playing at a high level,” Reich said. “The way he throws the football, the way he works through progressions, the way he plays the game…from day one, when he walked in the door, I said he deserved to be a starter.”
Dalton is looking forward to the opportunity to start, and understanding his role remains to help shape Young’s career.
“It’s always nice because I’ve had a certain way of working in my career, and when you go from starting to being a backup, that’s one of the things you miss,” he said. Taking ownership of what you do, knowing how you want it to look and how you want it to feel and seeing it executed, that’s what makes football fun.”
Dalton is 1-1 against the Seahawks in Seattle, with his only two appearances for the Cincinnati Bengals coming in 2011 and 2019. But he understands Seattle’s reputation for having one of the loudest stadiums in the NFL.
“That’s one of the places that comes to mind first,” Dalton said. “It can become a factor in the game if you let it. But this is where you have to make sure you’re communicating well.”
Dalton will face a Seattle team that ranks 31st in total defense, giving up 422 yards per game. The Seahawks were particularly vulnerable against the pass, giving up 325 yards per game to rank 30th.
Dalton said the best way he can help the offense is to be himself.
“Pushing the players, increasing the tempo and whatever we have to do to give ourselves a chance. At the end of the day, we hurt ourselves,” he said. We had a chance to kind of turn the outcome around, but we had some turnovers that hurt us and different things.
“For me, I’m just going to go out there and try to be as effective as I can.”
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