Carolina Panthers wide receiver D.J. Chark made a bold statement of intent when discussing quarterback Bryce Young and the team's chances in 2023.
One doesn't have to look far to see that the Carolina Panthers are ready to go to war with Bryce Young. The quarterback's immediate impression has been immensely positive, which gave Frank Reich enough conviction to move the No. 1 overall selection in the 2023 NFL Draft atop the depth chart heading into their mandatory minicamp.
Young has been everything the Panthers hoped for and more over the first few weeks. His poise and precision on the field have been exemplary, with the former Alabama star's command of the huddle something else that's come in for significant praise.
There's also been plenty to admire about the way Young conducts himself. Everything is done with conviction and calm confidence, which is a level of assurance that's not going unnoticed by his teammates during an important early transition.
Bryce Young earning respect of Carolina Panthers locker room
When speaking about Young recently, wide receiver D.J. Chark stated via Augusta Stone from the team's website that everyone has the deepest respect for the signal-caller. This has increased with every passing practice and is raising optimism across the locker room about the great things that could be achieved under his leadership.
"He's been fantastic. He's been light-hearted, going about his business the same way every day. Approachable, jokes in the huddle when it's time for that, is very much in control. And he – I can tell you now that he has the respect of everyone in that locker room, and he hasn't done anything to lose that respect. He only continues to gain it. We're here for him. Everybody here is here for him. And we believe he can take us to some really high places."- D.J. Chark via Panthers.com
This isn't the first player to wax lyrical about Young. Influential figures such as Shaq Thompson, Brian Burns, and Adam Thielen have all been highly complimentary of the Heisman Trophy winner, which is another huge confidence boost heading into the business end of preparations.
We'll find out more about Young when the pads go on at camp. Competing against a top-level New York Jets defense during joint practices will be another important measuring stick before Week 1 at the Atlanta Falcons rolls around.
That said, the early signs are promising. Chark is recovering well from off-season surgery and had his best practice day in a Panthers uniform so far last week, so his deep threat and size to create mismatches will be an asset for Young to call upon in 2023.
While speculation remains about whether the Panthers have enough to offset the loss of D.J. Moore, that won't matter much to Young. His meticulous preparation, high standards, and measured approach could be enough to make everyone around him better - especially when one considers what he was able to accomplish last season with a woeful group of pass-catchers on the Crimson Tide.
Chark and others firmly believe Young is the franchise quarterback that can propel this organization back among the contenders. Any hope Reich and his coaches had of tempering expectations has now evaporated - replaced by a unified sense of hope that was never seen under the previous regime.
If Chark and Young hit it off as expected, the Panthers might just be onto something.