Working Their Process Delivered Right Guy for Panthers – Expectations Start Early for #1, Belief will take a bit longer

Several beat writers want to straddle just how well *everyone* expects Bryce Young to play, “bringing great skills to the quarterback role Charlotte has lacked for a while, IF…” Okay, I understand not wanting to gush like a homer every day, OTAs start shortly in the still sweaty cauldron that is Spartanburg, but c’mon, even if there are question marks, its the NFC South.

When 2010 draft produced Cam Newton here, I said let alllll the stuff about his Dad offering Cam to high bidder go, he’s here/ours – just Root for Success. Drew Brees was me, my same size, an over-achiever you could appreciate. I’ve been tired of ‘Bama games, but what’s not to like about Bryce?

— Me, and 5 million other guys who made him -1250 DraftKing favorite.
“Everyone on the Brain Trust agreed,” huh? No way it was Richardson or Levis. 5/8/23
Want to fully experience the Panthers at work? Get to Spartanburg early, shade is at a premium.

Consider reasons to be jazzed up

Whether you felt Steve Wilks deserved to get the Head Coach role, Frank Reich brought the best kind of people with him, including Duce Staley, who he teamed with offensively during Eagles 2017 Super Bowl season.

Christian McCaffrey, that 1000-1000 young man some thought broke too easy, was gone mid-season and almost won a Super Bowl already, but the kid from ‘Bama has a TON of accolades (ie. Heisman) and leadership props himself. Okay, he didn’t save a guys life (yet) or get engaged to Miss Universe like McCaffrey, but he ain’t just ANY rookie.

Lets admit that #MrTeppersmoney $$$ will make a difference, with quality, certifiably good coordinators and assistants to coach up Panthers everywhere. When the organizations biggest Gotta Fix has been a lackluster offense lacking specific, productive leadership at the helm, how can even casual fans NOT recognize they’ve gotten better?

The practice facility and stadium situations are still out there, but you haven’t heard the words, ‘up against the cap’ in a long time. #GM Scott Fitterer gets credit for putting deals together, VP of Football Administration Samir Suleiman is the ‘cap guy’. Most people thought Shaq Thompson, after his best year (135 tackles, 8 for loss) was a goner with a $24.46MM cap hit, but Panthers managing to keep him on a reworked two year deal is good for everyone.

With a proven offensive line, bringing in Miles Sanders stats to Charlotte and his history with Coach Staley in Philadelphia, on a 4 year/$25,400,000 contract ($5.9MM signing bonus, $13MM guaranteed, according to, and an opportunity for frequent carries by hard-running Chuba Hubbard (95 rush/466 yrds./2 TD, 171 yds. receiving), the ground game is solid.

Hayden Hurst (TE, 3 yr./$21.75MM, $6.17MM signing bonus, $13MM guaranteed) fixes another significant hole in the Panther offense, one that’s existed since Greg Olsen left for the Seahawks and then announcers booth.

When Cam Newton came to town, the Panthers invested in two All Pro TEs, Jeremy Shockey (past) and Greg Olsen (legendary) to give Newton a check down receiver. Hurst brings credibility to the position as a key target for Joe Burrow during two AFC championship runs by Bengals. If 52 receptions for 414 yards and two touchdowns isn’t world-beating, it beats what’s been the norm.

Panthers wouldn’t listen to anyone about trading Brian Burns, there’s another run stuffing big-body free agent to put with Mr. Brown on the line, and Defensive Coordinator Ejiro Evero is going to make S Jeremy Chinn an All Pro, someone other teams will have to account for.

‘We got Joe’ – Guys you don’t bet against

There’s a huge influx of young guns in the NFL, with Mahomes the current lightening rod for a force you don’t want to bet against. The Buffalo Bills will never forget how a few seconds makes all the difference with a QB you WOULD want to bet against, like Herbert, Jones of NY, and Josh.

The word on Young is a WISE HEAD – with a shift protection the freshman called as example – and props comparing him with Peyton Manning for knowing what to do with a specific situation. There’s no reason to throw ‘if it works out’ caveats on his size at this point.

— #gshorkonsharonroadseam 5/8/23 I’m not just a homer sportswriter, hated Manning’s constant ‘OMAHA’ checking, but he KNEW.

Joe Burrow at LSU was/is All That, mostly got Joe Brady, his OC at LSU, a top college coordinator (Broyles) award and good job in NFL with Rhule’s Panthers, but they obviously out-personneled everyone with pass catchers. Joe kept his part going with Bengals, Brady’s system didn’t impress at pro level.

Aaron Rodgers, iffy a character as he sometimes seems, *still* isn’t someone you blow off until final whistle. Will NY get the full benefit of his expertise, if he can’t be bothered with some good will at OTAs?

It’s the NFC South folks

Is Young worth three games? because 10-7 could win the division in 2023. Tampa took it with 8-9 record last year, a year after Brady led them to a 13-4 record, and everyone else tied at 7-10,

ATL has two names for QB room – Logan Woodside and Desmond Ridder- and maybe Taylor Heineke (2 yrs./$20MM?); Tampa has maybe Jacoby Brissett, who was steady with Browns, and Saints Derek Carr (4 yrs./$150MM) rode the wave of QB uncertainty best by signing in early March.

Despite 1-6 start, Panthers were a helmet off penalty on Moore causing a missed PAT, and a lousy quarter defending Mike Evans (10 catches/207 yds./3TDs) as Brady went 34/45/432 yds/3 TDs to officially eliminate the Panthers. Tom is officially (at this time) still retired, so nobody in division has a better documented QB than Panthers, period.

Panthers Organization-Brain Trust ups its game during drive to #1, Steve Smith approves of Ole Miss’ Mingo

What’s in the cards for #Carolina Panthers and 2023 draft group, led by #1 pick Bryce Young? Predictions may be all over, but Panthers were a helmet penalty extra point and a lousy 24 point quarter by Brady and the Bucs from playoffs last year, off a 1-6 start.

Nobody is dissing the #Carolina Panthers front office over their draft process, even if ‘Panthers organization and brains’ sometimes slipped into air quotes in recent past, especially with QBs. GM #Scott Fitterer’s reputation for ‘in on every deal’ is respected, which started long before pulling off the draft picks and DJ Moore price tag for #1 pick, #Bryce Young.

Maybe its the 4th time Fitterer’s brought best available leader into quarterback mix, but all the exploring and validating was about #best practices, not just a jumbled Rhule this time around.

5/2/23 #gshorkonsharonroadseam

Panther icon #Steve Smith seems solid on their #2 pick as “a receiver who runs like a running back, around or through you” after the catch. Lots of experts said it was easier to get a top flight receiver than a franchise quarterback. Is immediately replacing Moore’s 1,000 yards production – and maybe scoring more touchdowns – a legitimate gauging of talent? If Steve believes the guy is legit, Mingo’s welcome when OTAs begin at Wofford.

The Panthers draft was rated everywhere from A, A- to C+, depending on how heavily you weighed picking the obvious Young as a future star, a #2 (Mingo) earlier than many thought necessary, and a LB/freak athlete from Oregon because Ejiro Evior wanted him, has been a Fitterer specialty.,coordinator%20for%20the%20Denver%20Broncos It seems like needs were met, #collaboration and ORGANIZATION sure strikes a different tone in Charlotte.

Word from San Francisco, which thinks Darnold is the most talented thrower they’ve ever had – good luck with that. Talent wasn’t really the question…

They’ve signed 13 undrafted free agents, and still have $22.6MM of cap space for when negotiations with #Brian Burns extension starts. He’ll want to continue leading this defense, #2 on yardage/23rd in getting scored on, but getting paid still counts.

Nobody in the organization has mentioned trading Matt Corral, last years second #3 pick, after a broken ankle in pre-season. He’s a freebie pickup of talent, and with Reich and an excellent coaching staff, could become a significant asset. Andy Dalton is current #2.

–G.Shorkey, 5/1/23

Alabama QBs, The Ghosts of Weinke, Newton

Starting with Newton as an ultimate extension of physical superiority in speed-strength in the RPO (run-pass-option offense) while winning 2010 national championship and Heisman at Auburn, Bryce Young is now the third Heisman QB in Panther history – Chris Weinke of Florida State, being the first with that designation.

Weinke, was Panthers #1 in 2000, and he was 28 years old at FSU because he’d played baseball in Toronto’s minor league system. He wound up activating a lot of performance (yardage, TDs, starts) standards on a 1-15 team, where he eventually became a $5MM backup – when that wasn’t the norm. They handed the keys to Rodney Peete, and Weinke was out in 2006.

Cam Newton still casts a shadow around Charlotte as a franchise star, his contributions noteworthy, but Young won’t be getting coaching from Newton even if both like the idea. We’ll see if Eagles star Jalen Hurts is an outlier of strength-quality production among ex-Tide QBs with his historic (for like two hours) financial extension off last years Super Bowl run.

Mac Jones with the Patriots didn’t over-impress in Year 2, and the potential for Tua T. in Miami is somewhere between getting clonged badly several times in 2022, and getting to the playoffs again in a division that now includes Aaron Rodgers twice a year.

Oh yeah, Mayfield was a Heisman guy in Charlotte last year. 1-5 record, some mop up duty in another. 6 TD, 6 INT. Oy!

Despite all the smoke, how #Panthers were considering trading DOWN from #1, maybe CJ Stroud, thinking everyone (except, really, Levis) might be their target, when all four decision makers were 100% in their praise – and Young canceled any remaining Top 30 visits – the announcement by the Commissioner was a 3 weeks unofficial Done Deal for me.

Pre-draft, he was -1250 or so on DraftKings. Just sayin’.

Then there’s an Outstanding Offensive Line

A definitive asset that awaits Bryce Young is a very together and DEEP #Offensive line. The Panthers became a highly productive run team with minimal expectations of production from Mayfield et al.

Panthers didn’t ‘just’ need a Good quarterback, more an Alpha, franchise-level leader. Can Panther fans expect the level of coaching in 2023 will make THAT much of a difference? The OC-DC and assistants assembled are well-documented, top of their game types, and Yes, that’s the Mission Statement clarity the top brass has operated under.

In #’Good to Great,’ a business management must-read, Jim C. Collins felt getting the right people on the bus AND in the right places was a primary difference maker. NOBODY doubts that steadiness of O-line and two-headed running attack will benefit Young. The Panthers organization is 100% agreed on directionality, every supporting factor (ie. Coaching staff) is planned around, and Bryce Young is considered a very wise head.

In Charlotte, adding G Chandler Zavala (NCState), a linemate of #Ikem Ekwonu at State, local hero (Providence Day) and the Panther’s much appreciated rookie OLT last season, adds some explosive power – his rep is a mauler on runs. Young won’t lack for opportunities to show off a little magic in the new, shinier version of the #Carolina Panthers.

Whats next? May 23-25, May 31-June 2, June 5-8: OTA (Organized Team Activities) Offseason Workouts.