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Panthers QB Bryce Young: 'We all share' in some responsibility for Frank Reich firing

Bryce Young's rookie campaign has been fraught with struggles, and as his counterpart in Houston, C.J. Stroud, enjoys early success, it only makes the situation in Carolina look worse.

This reality led to the firing of Frank Reich last week. The responsibility for Carolina's failures in 2023 weren't solely Reich's to bear, of course, but because the operation he oversaw wasn't producing quantifiable success after 11 games, Panthers owner David Tepper decided to make the change, forcing the franchise's chosen face, Young, to play under an interim regime for the remainder of his first season.

Young has quickly learned the going in the NFL isn't as smooth as it was for him at Alabama. And he knows his own struggles contributed to Reich's firing.

"We all do. We all share in that," Young said when asked if he feels partially responsible for Reich's departure, via ESPN. "We never want to see people get fired. We wanted to come in and conquer things together and accomplish our goals together. We all take responsibility in that."

Reich didn't do himself many favors during his brief tenure, bouncing back and forth between handling play-calling duties and delegating to offensive coordinator Thomas Brown. No matter the change, the results remained similarly disappointing. Worst of all, Young showed little progress in his development as the franchise quarterback.

There's no guarantee the change -- or future staff overhauls -- will move Young to the right track toward long-term success. Carolina still has personnel deficiencies that aren't helping Young much, including an offensive line that has allowed the rookie to be sacked 40 times, the second-highest total among qualifying quarterbacks in the NFL this season. The receiving corps also leaves plenty to be desired.

The responsibility for improving this situation falls on the shoulders of general manager Scott Fitterer, who has already spent significant capital on the offensive line and to acquire the right to select Young. A road to a quick turnaround does not exist for this franchise at the moment.

In the meantime, Young has been forced to process the firing of his first NFL coach while also remaining focused on the immediate task at hand. 

"It's really hard," he said on Wednesday. "These are real relationships ... people's lives. We spend, I don't know, almost every hour of the day in this building. Day after day after day is spent [here]. Obviously, you build strong bonds, strong relationships over that time.

"It's hard. It's a really harsh reality of the business."

Young's lack of improvement has some concerned Carolina swung and missed in a big way with the No. 1 overall pick, especially as Stroud runs away with Offensive Rookie of the Year in Houston. Tepper doubled down on his franchise's choice of Young, telling reporters on Tuesday "we are totally confident in that pick."

It will be up to Tepper, though, to select the right coach for Young going forward. Until he arrives at such a decision, Young will have to adjust to the staff changes, which he hopes will assist him, even if only marginally.

"Of course, there will be little tweaks with change in leadership, change in roles," Young said. "Of course, things are going to look a little different. But I believe in everyone here. Time will tell as far as what the results are."

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