CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Carolina Panthers rookie quarterback Bryce Young did not participate in Wednesday’s walkthrough practice because of an ankle injury, opening the door for the possibility of veteran Andy Dalton starting on Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks.
Panthers coach Frank Reich said at this point it’s too early to know if the No. 1 overall pick will be able to play.
Carolina is 0-2 as Young and the Panthers offense have struggled to find their groove.
Dalton took first-team reps as Young looked on, per Reich. Young was injured at some point in Carolina’s 20-17 loss to the New Orleans Saints on Monday night, although he did complete the game and threw a touchdown and 2-point conversion pass on his final drive.
The Panthers have signed Jake Luton to the practice squad, and he could be promoted as the team’s backup quarterback if Young can’t play. He spent time in training camp with Carolina.
“If Andy is the starter, we have a lot of confidence.” Reich said. “This is why you bring someone like Andy in. Our goal is to put our team in position to win championships and despite a tough start that is our vision, that is our goal and what we're working toward. My experience personally as a player and as a coach is that you're going to need somebody for one game or two or three somewhere along the line. If Andy plays we believes he gives us a very good chance to win.”
Reich said the game plan would not change much if Dalton starts.
Young and Dalton were not made available during the team's open locker room session on Wednesday.
Dalton is 83-77-2 as a starter during his previous 12 NFL seasons, while throwing for 244 touchdowns and 144 interceptions. He spent nine seasons in Cincinnati before one-year stops in Dallas, Chicago and New Orleans.
Dalton started 14 games last season for the Saints, going 6-8 with 18 TD passes and nine interceptions.
Running back Miles Sanders said he's not worried if Dalton is pressed into starting, saying the veteran is well prepared.
“It would actually be kind of a dream come true to play with Andy,” Sanders said. “Me being from Pittsburgh and being a Steelers fan I know what Andy can do (having played with the Bengals). So yeah, it would be an honor playing with him.”
Young has struggled in his first two career starts, although the team's offensive line hasn't given him much time to throw. The 2021 Heisman Trophy winner from Alabama has completed 59.2% of his passes for 299 yards with two TDs and two picks.
The Panthers also listed four players as limited on Wednesday, including outside linebackers Brian Burns (ankle) and Justin Houston (calf), running back Miles Sanders (pectoral), and linebacker Chandler Wooten (knee).
The team has added veteran linebacker Deion Jones to the roster after Shaq Thompson was placed on injured reserve with a broken leg. Kamu Grugier-Hill is expected to start in Thompson's spot on Sunday.
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