It doesn't matter who wanted Bryce Young, the Carolina Panthers must make it work

Bryce Young
Bryce Young / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

A recent report suggesting Frank Reich wanted C.J. Stroud is irrelevant. The Carolina Panthers have to make it work with Bryce Young.

We are living in strange times. Nothing new to anyone who's followed the Carolina Panthers closely since David Tepper bought the team, but there was genuine hope during the offseason that the good times weren't far away.

After just five weeks, the walls are caving in once again. The Panthers are 0-5 and about to be 0-6 unless they pull off one of the biggest shocks in recent memory at the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, which would make it an extremely uncomfortable bye week for head coach Frank Reich and others in positions of power.

The fact Reich is already talking about meddling ownership so soon into the season is concerning. Tepper is throwing his weight around as usual and according to a recent report, also supposedly pulled rank on Reich when it came to drafting their next signal-caller at No. 1 overall in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Carolina Panthers QB Bryce Young's growth is the only thing that matters in 2023

Upon seeing a video on social media of Reich highlighting how involved Tepper is, ESPN reporter Stephen Holder claimed it was common knowledge around the league that the Panthers' coaching figurehead wanted C.J. Stroud before a last-minute U-turn that saw them go with Bryce Young.

"This was painful to watch because it isn’t the first time I’ve heard him say this. It’s an open secret in the league that the owner heavily influenced the QB choice, which is never ideal. Talked to Reich at the owners meetings and told him I think I knew which QB he wanted. I said Stroud bc he embodied everything Frank has ever told me he wanted in a QB (accuracy, size, poise, etc). This is not a slight toward Bryce whatsoever. I was just making a prediction based on what I knew of Reich’s criteria."

Stephen Holder via X/Twitter

This was a sentiment echoed by Brett Kollmann from The Film Room, who also claimed Stroud to Carolina was a done deal until around a week before the big night.

"Feels like everyone around the league water cooler - and I mean everyone - had heard that Stroud to Carolina was a done deal for months leading up to the draft. Then about a week before draft day, everything reversed out of nowhere."

Brett Kollmann via X/Twitter

Stroud looks like the typical Reich quarterback. A pure pocket passer with supreme accuracy at all three levels of the field and a winning mentality that's already taken the NFL by storm.

Whether this is true or not is irrelevant. The Panthers have to make it work with Young.

They invested significant capital in the signal-caller - perhaps even including the No.1 pick in 2024 depending on how things unfold over the next 12 games. Therefore, the only thing that matters right now is the former Alabama star's development from what appears to be yet another lost season in Carolina under Tepper.

If Reich didn't know what Tepper was like before taking this job, he should have done more research. And if he cannot alter the scheme to suit the Heisman Trophy winner's strengths, that's an indictment of his ability as a coach.

Tepper is highly unlikely to be the only person in Carolina's war room who was banging the table for Young. His college success, elite-level processing, and ability to go through progressions rapidly were all sought-after traits, so it was either Carolina or the Houston Texans at No. 2 securing his services.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing to have and there are some severe agendas being pushed when it comes to this topic. Stroud has been nothing short of sensational through five weeks, but who's to say he'd have any more success than Young in Carolina behind a porous offensive line and distributing to weapons that cannot create consistent separation - Adam Thielen aside, of course.

Just figure it out. Take off the kid gloves and let Young run a high-tempo offense that keeps opposing defenses on their toes. At this point, what does Reich have to lose?

He may have wanted Stroud and as we talked about endlessly, there was no wrong answer between the two. In all forms of life and professions, sometimes you have to play the hand you've been dealt - but not adjusting the offensive system to make the best use of Carolina's newest prized possession once the goalposts were moved is borderline malpractice.

And make no mistake, Tepper will be taking note.