Carolina Panthers icon provides perfect analogy for Bryce Young's struggles

Steve Smith Sr. had some thoughts about Bryce Young...

Bryce Young
Bryce Young / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
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Carolina Panthers legend Steve Smith Sr. provided the perfect analogy regarding quarterback Bryce Young's struggles in 2023.

Bryce Young's rookie campaign won't live long in the memory. The Carolina Panthers quarterback struggled to get anything going en route to a dismal season overall. While the signal-caller would freely admit his performances should have been better, the franchise needs to hold its fair share of the blame for how things unfolded.

The protection in front of Young was beyond woeful. There were almost no consistent pass-catchers for the No. 1 overall selection in the 2023 NFL Draft to call upon. Revelations in the immediate aftermath of significant coaching changes highlighted there was no clear, concise thought process regarding his critical transition.

This is something the new regime is looking to change. Dan Morgan has invested heavily in strengthening the offensive line interior. He also acquired an exceptional route runner - wide receiver Diontae Johnson - via trade from the Pittsburgh Steelers. More is needed and the defensive decimation could complicate matters, but the main priority is to give Young a fighting chance.

Carolina Panthers must do more for Bryce Young

When asked about Young's rookie struggles, Panthers legend Steve Smith Sr. provided the perfect analogy via USA Today Sports. He was confident in the Heisman Trophy winner coming out of college and remains so. But unless the supporting cast improves, the future Pro Football Hall of Famer believes things are unlikely to change.

"Well, I liked Bryce Young initially. Right? We have to pick a guy. That’s our job. We have to pick a guy. Because I picked Bryce and said we should go with Bryce, that doesn’t mean that I think C.J. [Stroud] can’t play. I said, just like other people reported, Bryce’s processing was faster than C.J.’s. But at the end of the day, a smart kid can look dumb if he’s around a lot of dumb people. And a dumb kid, or a smart kid, can be really smart if he’s around a lot of smart people. And what I’m sayin’ is — you’re only as good as your company, and your company can only heighten and elevate you."

Steve Smith Sr. via USA Today Sports

This was a fantastic depiction from Smith. It's also a far cry from how the set-up was perceived before Young was chosen atop the draft. Frank Reich and his supposed all-star staff had the experience and progressive thinking that deemed this the best situation for any college quarterback. It ended up being the worst by a considerable margin.

Aside from a few flashes, Young was unable to compensate for a lack of talent around him. Very few signal-callers could have thrived in this sort of environment. It was a year of his rookie deal wasted, so the urgency to bounce back in Year 2 of his professional career cannot be overstated.

Looking back with remorse or regret isn't going to help anybody. This should be treated as a clean slate for everybody.

Dave Canales wants to build a scheme around Young's strengths - which should help enormously. The head coach also fully believes in the Alabama product can doesn't believe there is much to fix. Couple this with his proven credentials to galvanize quarterbacks down on their luck, and it's not hard to see why better days might be ahead.

Nobody is expecting Young to become an All-Pro - far from it. If he can provide stability, efficient distribution, and work well within the system, it would be a shock if his production didn't take a substantial leap forward when competitive action returns.

Anything less will come with grave consequences attached.

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