Bryce Young’s NFL career hasn’t gotten off to the hottest start. The No. 1 overall pick struggled through two losses with the Carolina Panthers before sitting out the club’s Week 3 game with an ankle injury. Will Young be available for Week 4 when the Panthers face the similarly winless Minnesota Vikings at home?
Bryce Young Injury Update
Young sustained an ankle injury against the New Orleans Saints in Week 2. He couldn’t practice in the subsequent days, and it was relatively apparent early in the week that the first-round pick wouldn’t be ready for Week 3.
Young’s injury pushed veteran backup Andy Dalton into the starting lineup against the Seattle Seahawks. Carolina also signed Jake Luton to its practice squad, then elevated him to its active roster before Sunday’s game.
The Panthers’ offense looked more functional with Dalton under center. Carolina scored 27 points against Seattle — they’d posted 27 total points over their first two games. Dalton attempted 58 passes — the most for any QB in a game this year — completing 34 for 361 yards and two touchdowns while ranking 10th in EPA per dropback in Week 3.
Still, the Panthers are planning for the future and want to see what Young is capable of on a weekly basis. Fortunately, he appears to be trending toward playing against the Vikings on Sunday.
Head coach Frank Reich told reporters that Young would practice on Wednesday, although he wasn’t sure how much Young would participate. NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo suggested Young has a “good shot” to return in Week 4.
Panthers coach Frank Reich on Bryce Young: ‘’I trust that guy.’’ pic.twitter.com/gvy9xVGry3
— David Newton (@DNewtonespn) September 27, 2023
The Panthers’ injury report officially listed Young as a full practice participant on Wednesday.
“He’s made good progress,” Reich said. “I think he feels better, but there’s nothing like getting out in the field. I know he tested it a little bit (Tuesday) and did some things.
“Credit to Bryce for being ready. I mean really, at the beginning, we were thinking one-to-two weeks, thinking it could be more two. But he’s done everything he can do to get back here.”
Carolina is opening up at least some risk by playing a potentially hobbled Young against a Vikings defense that isn’t afraid to send extra rushers. Minnesota defensive coordinator Brian Flores has lapped the rest of the league with a 63% blitz rate through three weeks. The New York Giants are the only other team to blitz on more than half their snaps.
The Panthers’ offensive line, playing with backups at both guard spots, has struggled this season. However, Young appears to be responsible for at least some of the pressure that’s come his way. Young took 38 pressures in his two starts — Dalton, playing behind the same Carolina OL, was pressured just four times in Week 3.