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Panthers TE Hayden Hurst: 'Too many voices' in Bryce Young's ear hurt rookie QB 

Carolina Panthers rookie quarterback Bryce Young struggled through a brutal first season after the club mortgaged their future to acquire the Heisman Trophy winner.

Little went right for Young, who struggled to make plays consistently, tossed brutally inaccurate balls, saw his footwork regress, picked up poor habits, and was battered behind a porous offensive line.

Veteran tight end Hayden Hurst, playing for his fourth club in six seasons -- so he has been around plenty of different offenses -- pinpointed the main issue as too many voices in Young's ear.

"I think it was apparent, if you were in this locker room, you could tell -- just a lot of voices," Hurst told the Charlotte Observer this week. "A lot of people trying to, I guess, right the ship. And I think it just got to the point where there were just too many voices."

The Panthers stacked their coaching staff in the offseason with designs on bolstering the QB play: head coach Frank Reich, QB coach Josh McCown, offensive coordinator Thomas Brown, senior assistant Jim Caldwell, passing game coordinator Parks Frazier, and others.

Hurst believes there were too many voices shouting orders to the chef.

"In my opinion, I think there were just too many opinions," Hurst said. "Kind of looking for the right answer from everybody -- too much input -- which sucks for Bryce. He had a lot of people in his ear telling him one thing. Cause when you come from a place like Alabama, (Nick) Saban is king -- what he says, goes.

"When you're a 21-year-old kid, you think that's going to be consistent in the NFL. And unfortunately for him, I think, he was listening to too many people. So, it'll be a good offseason for him to get back to his roots. The kid won a Heisman trophy, he's pretty good. He's the first overall pick, he's pretty good."

Part of the reason Reich and McCown were fired after Week 12 was to lessen the voices in Young's ear. Through 10 starts, Young completed 61.71% of his passes for 1,877 yards, nine touchdowns, eight interceptions, took 40 sacks, and didn't have a 250-yard passing day.

Things improved briefly with the reworked coaching room, and Young authored his best game of the season in Week 15 (312 yards passing with 2 TDs and no interceptions) in a near comeback against Green Bay. But the offense cratered in the final two weeks, with the Panthers getting shut out in both contests and Young putting up fewer than 115 passing yards in each.

The focus of the Panthers' coaching search is finding a singular voice that can get Young back on track and build an offense that accentuates what the former No. 1 pick does well.

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