Bryce Young's unlikely ally
Bryce Young goes in search of his first NFC South win this weekend at the fifth time of asking. The rookie quarterback is enduring some significant hardship throughout his first season under center. Something that's led many to already label the Carolina Panthers' decision to select him No. 1 overall in the 2023 NFL Draft as a grave error in judgment.
Young isn't playing well. This is also a terrible environment for any player looking to grow. So tabbing him as a bust is reactionary and unfair in equal measure.
The former Alabama signal-caller found an unlikely ally in the form of Falcons defensive coordinator Jerry Gray. When discussing the quarterback during media availability this week, the coach stated he's starting to see development via Sports Illustrated. Especially when it comes to the critical area of pocket navigation.
"Well, when you watch the last couple of games, he’s taking off running a lot more. He’s not trying to sit in the pocket and take those hits. I know last week, he made like 40 yards scrambling, which you would’ve never said game one because he sat in there and waited on throws. So now, he’s actually taking off."- Jerry Gray via Sports Illustrated
Considering the weather forecast on Sunday, just how much Young will be able to impact proceedings is unclear. He must protect the football and rely on the running game. When chances in the red zone arrive, he must turn them into touchdowns.
If Young can accomplish this and the defense continues to impress, a win is attainable.