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Carolina Panthers had 'Hunger Games' style culture; players call out 'overprotectiveness' of Bryce Young: The Athletic

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WGHP) — More information on the possible root of the Carolina Panthers‘ dreadful season came out in an article published by The Athletic on Wednesday morning.

A team source told the Atheltic’s Joe Person and Dianna Russini that the Panthers had a “Hunger Games” culture within the organization.

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Coaches on the team said that they thought several other staff members were in contact with the team owner, David Tepper, without then-head coach Frank Reich’s knowledge about problems within the team.

One of those alleged instances involved general manager Scott Fitterer and an offensive coach going to Tepper with a coaching suggestion for rookie quarterback Bryce Young.

Sources within the team described a scene of coaches undermining other coaches and going into “self-preservation mode” as Reich’s inevitable firing loomed over the staff.

The Panthers eventually relieved Reich of his duties on Nov. 27. after a 1-10 start to the season.

The lack of progress and success from Young, the Panthers’ rookie quarterback that the team traded a massive amount of draft assets for, was a large factor in the dysfunction within the building.

The Panthers traded a large haul of draft capital and star wide receiver DJ Moore to the Chicago Bears to acquire the No.1 overall pick and select Young.

Complicating matters is the fact that the Panthers have the worst record in the NFL and are currently projected to hand the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft to the Bears, a disastrous outcome in a trade that was viewed as the final piece the Panthers needed to compete to win the NFC South.

Making matters even worse is the fact that the second overall pick in the draft, Houston Texans quarterback CJ Stroud, is having a historically great rookie season.

Stroud is currently on pace to throw for over 5,000 yards, something that only nine quarterbacks have done in NFL history, and will certainly shatter almost every passing record for a rookie quarterback.

Stroud is currently the league leader in passing yards and is fifth in passer rating.

Meanwhile, Young has struggled mightily, having thrown over 1,500 yards less than Stroud.

Young’s 2,055 yards passing ranks 25th in the league. His per-game averages paint an even more gruesome picture than that; his 186.8 yards-per-game ranks 31st.

Young’s passer rating of 73.1 ranks 34th in the NFL. He has thrown 9 touchdowns to 9 interceptions on the season and has lost four fumbles.

Sources told The Athletic that Reich began the year calling out Young for mistakes in team film reviews. However, Reich allegedly cooled off on criticizing the rookie quarterback to maintain his confidence.

Some players on the team looked at Reich’s effort to uphold Young’s confidence as “overprotectiveness” and said that Reich alongside former quarterbacks coach Josh McCown was not tough enough on Young.

McCown was fired by interim coach Chris Tabor shortly after Reich’s dismissal.

The Athletic also stated that multiple Panthers coaches wanted to bench Young in favor of a veteran backup quarterback Andy Dalton, who had the Panthers’ best passing game in Week 3 against the Seattle Seahawks.

However, the idea of benching Young never reached higher levels of authority such as Reich, Fitterer or Tepper.

The end result of all of the chaos was one of the shortest coaching tenures in NFL history for Reich.

Source: Fox 8 News Channel

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