The following statement was written by JAY COHEN, AP Sports Writer.
“I must improve my performance,” stated Bryce Young multiple times. Carolina coach Frank Reich also acknowledged that he needed to improve his job. This sentiment was echoed by both Chuba Hubbard and Terrace Marshall.
After yet another lackluster display on offense, it is evident that the Panthers are aware their offensive strategy is insufficient for securing victories. However, they have yet to make any alterations.
Carolina was unable to defeat Chicago in a Thursday night game, losing 16-13. They only gained 213 yards and 12 first downs, the lowest of their season. The Panthers struggled on third down, only converting 3 out of 15 attempts, and were unable to score an offensive touchdown for the second time in their first nine games this season.
Reich, a former NFL quarterback, stated that it’s not only Young who can improve; he himself and the entire offense can also strive for improvement.
Following a defeat of 27-13 to Indianapolis, quarterback Young threw three interceptions, two of which were taken for touchdowns by Kenny Moore. However, he did not have any more turnovers but only managed to pass for 185 yards and was sacked three times.
Eddy Pineiro successfully made a 33-yard field goal in the second quarter and a 39-yarder in the fourth, but this was the extent of Carolina’s offensive performance. The Panthers (1-8) were only able to score one touchdown in the game, which came from Ihmir Smith-Marsette’s 79-yard punt return in the first quarter.
Young, who completed 21 out of 38 passes, expressed the team’s collective frustration. The current situation is disheartening and does not align with our identity or goals. We must improve our on-field performance and the image we present to others.
Carolina chose Young as their top pick in the NFL draft, trading with Chicago to secure the No. 1 overall spot. As part of the trade, Carolina gave up their first-round pick in next year’s draft, which could also be the first pick if they continue to lose.
Although Young and Carolina’s attack struggled to gain momentum throughout the game, undrafted first-year player Tyson Bagent from Shepherd University (Division II) led Chicago to a 4-yard touchdown run by former Panthers running back D’Onta Foreman and three successful field goals.
They managed to barely fend off the Panthers.
Hubbard stated that they need to successfully carry out the plays, improve their football skills, and make smarter decisions. He also mentioned that despite leading Carolina with 23 rushing yards, the team is capable of performing even better than their current performance.
Despite struggling offensively, Carolina still had an opportunity to even the score in the fourth quarter. They advanced to the Chicago 41 on their final possession, but a near interception by Bears linebacker Jack Sanborn on third-and-10 almost ended their chances. However, head coach Frank Reich made the decision to have kicker Eddy Pineiro attempt a 59-yard field goal against his former team instead of going for it on fourth down.
“It was a difficult choice. There were differing opinions on what action to take,” stated Reich. “Ultimately, the decision is mine.”
At the start of the season, Reich was making the offensive play calls for Carolina. However, he later passed on this responsibility to offensive coordinator Thomas Brown when the Panthers had a rough start with 0-6.
The desired outcome has not been reached yet. Carolina has only managed to score two offensive touchdowns in three games after making the change.
Young stated that the issue is not with the play calls, but rather with the execution. He acknowledged that they are given chances to succeed, but they fail to properly carry out the plays. He takes responsibility for this and knows he needs to improve.
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