After an initial bedding-in period, the Carolina Panthers are starting to see quarterback Bryce Young's personality shine through with the spotlight glaring.
Bryce Young conducts himself in the exemplary manner befitting of a franchise NFL quarterback. His calmness, poise, and the fact he's rarely flustered despite his tender age and just some of the personality traits that made him the Carolina Panthers' consensus choice once they made their daring trade up to No. 1 overall in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Young continued with this approach during his early integration into a professional setup. His quiet demeanor, having the right answer for every question, and focusing primarily on football matters ensured the smoothest transition imaginable - even if the player's demeanor was still reminiscent of the college kid that took the SEC by storm at Alabama.
Nick Saban is a strong disciplinarian and expects a certain level of introversion in his players. Young is never going to be Cam Newton in terms of flamboyance, but we are starting to see the Heisman Trophy winner come out of his shell after an initial bedding-in period.
Carolina Panthers are starting to see Bryce Young's personality
The choir boy act was only going to last long. Young feels more comfortable in his surroundings, is starting to feel like he truly belongs, and is exuding confidence that's not going unnoticed by his teammates or the media following Carolina closely at training camp.
When discussing Young's personality, Scott Fowler of The Charlotte Observer said he's started to see a difference over the last fortnight. Something the columnist believes is essential to get everyone pulling in the same direction.
"I'll tell this about Bryce Young. In the last two weeks, he seems more comfortable with his teammates and isn't so robotic. Bryce can sound a bit programmed like he knows the answer to a test. But he's got to have the personality to make people follow him. Like the way Jake Delhomme and Cam did. You've got to have that willingness to open up. You're seeing that with the Door Dash story and singing at the rookie talent show, making fun of himself. So we're seeing more glimpses of who he is, not just the guy - 2.3 seconds getting the ball out and finding a wide receiver - there's a personality there too."- Scott Fowler, The Charlotte Observer
For the nice stories and Shaq Thompson long at Young differently after his rookie song turned into a concert by all accounts, it's what he does on the field that will be the critical factor. If he plays well, self-confidence increases and the player gets even more freedom to flourish under Carolina's exceptional coaching staff.
Football is a simple game where momentum is everything. But rather than focus on Young's relative shyness from the outside looking in over the early transition phase after the draft hype died down, center Bradley Bozeman was quick to point out via USA Today Sports how much belief there is in the rookie within the huddle - the most important thing of all when push comes to shove on Sundays.
"I wouldn’t call him soft-spoken at all. I’d call him more confident. I mean, just even-keeled and confident. It’s everything that I get from him. When he steps in the huddle, everyone shuts up and looks. So, that tells you a lot. There’s a lot of huddles I’ve been in where people are still talking in side conversation about the play that happened before. Whenever he steps in, it’s silent."- Bradley Bozeman via USA Today Sports
Being the franchise guy and having to establish yourself with grown multi-millionaires who've already reached the pinnacle is not an easy task. Fortunately for Young, he's had the best preparation imaginable, didn't go in all guns blazing, and gradually earned the right to be himself heading into the business end of camp.
Hopes are high surrounding the Panthers in 2023. There are also a lot of unknowns after a busy offseason of changes across the board.
If Young takes the bull by the horns and keeps being himself through the good times and the bad, Carolina can ask no more. Whether that's enough for a surprise postseason berth next season is another matter.