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Panthers owner David Tepper on Bryce Young: 'We are totally confident in that pick'

The Carolina Panthers fired head coach Frank Reich on Monday, but the organization remains all-in on quarterback Bryce Young.

Owner David Tepper said on Tuesday the club remains behind the No. 1 overall pick despite the rookie's struggles this season.

"We are totally confident in that pick," Tepper told reporters.

Tepper noted that he believes it was a unanimous decision by the coaches and scouts to make Young the No. 1 pick at the time, and he only voiced his opinion at the end of the process.

The owner added that the Panthers initially expected to trade to the No. 2 pick and were comfortable taking C.J. Stroud, who has shined as a rookie in Houston, but ultimately moved to No. 1 to snag Young.

"Now, it's been reported, and we've talked about it, originally, we were going to go with the No. 2 pick, and we thought we'd get C.J. because we thought the Texans were going to pick Bryce," Tepper told reporters when asked about reports that he tipped the scales in favor of drafting Young. "Listen, we preferred Bryce. He was our No. 1 pick."

Young has struggled in his first 10 starts, completing 61.7 percent of his passes for 1,877 yards with nine TDs and eight interceptions. The QB ranks 31st in sacks taken (40), 30th in passing yards per game (187.7) and passer rating (74.9), and 26th in TD-INT ratio.

With poor surrounding talent, including a sieve offensive line and receivers who don't separate, Young is in a difficult situation. However, the lack of development and picking up bad habits he didn't show at Alabama ultimately led to Reich's dismissal. The sensational play of Stroud while Young struggles has hovered over the entire season in Carolina.

Firing the head coach after 11 games underscores the idea that the Panthers still believe in Young's talent but felt Reich was the wrong choice to get the best out of the young passer. Now, the job is to find the right man to turn things around in 2024.

For the rest of 2023, interim coach Chris Tabor, senior assistant Jim Caldwell, and offensive coordinator Thomas Brown will be tasked with beginning Young's turnaround.

"You can't overhaul everything, but you can work on things," Tabor told reporters on Tuesday on how offensive changes can affect Young.

Reich on Monday became the third coach fired in-season since Tepper took over in 2018 (Ron Rivera in 2019 and Matt Rhule in 2022). The owner pushed back on the notion that cycling through coaches suggests he's impatient.

"I do have patience," Tepper said on Tuesday. "My reputation away from this game is one of extreme patience. There's no reason why that doesn't come here, too -- it does. Now, that patience comes with good performance and things that you want to see. Progress being made in different aspects. As I said, I would like to have somebody here for 20, 30 years. I would like to have somebody that would say a eulogy at my funeral."

Asked if the 30-63 record since he took over, second-worst in the NFL over that span, coupled with the quick hook for coaches, might make it more difficult to find a quality replacement, Tepper responded bluntly: "No."

"Look, things are constantly evolving, and they'll continue to evolve," he said. "Try to make things better is what you always try to do. Obviously, that record is not good enough. There's no hiding it. It is what it is like everything in this sport. Everything is left on the field. Everybody knows what it is every week. That record is that record. Like I said, it is not good enough. We're going to self-reflect to make it better."

The first stage of the self-reflection starts with finding the right coach and staff to get Young back on track.

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