Panthers Preseason Questions: Will Rookie QB Bryce Young Get 2nd Start Versus Giants? Who Will Play At Right Guard?

NFL: Preseason-New York Jets at Carolina Panthers

Carolina Panthers rookie quarterback Bryce Young earned a second preseason start.

But who will block in front of him?

Specifically, will anyone block for Young? Or Matt Corral, who should get most of the snaps after replacing the starter? Or Jake Luton, who should see his first action?

That’s one of the biggest team questions as the Panthers travel to meet the New York Giants on Friday. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. on NFL Network.

The Panthers’ offensive line struggled against the visiting New York Jets last Saturday, surrendering eight QB hits and five sacks. Their effort didn’t improve much when coach Frank Reich, the primary play-caller, and offensive coordinator Thomas Brown orchestrated running plays. Brown, who ran the offense during the second half against the Jets, likely will do the same versus the Giants. Reich wants to give the young coordinator additional experience.

The Panthers mustered just 199 total yards during their uninspiring preseason-opening 27-0 defeat.

The other big question entering Friday is obvious.

Will the Panthers score?

Top Draft Pick Bryce Young Gets Start No. 2

Following Wednesday’s walk-thru, Reich confirmed Young would start at MetLife Stadium, his first NFL road start. Reich likely will follow the Game 1 script, allowing the 2021 Heisman Trophy winner from Alabama to lead the first few series. Against the Jets, Young guided the offense during three series, resulting in one first down and two three-and-outs.

“He will play,” Reich said via “Probably similar to last game as far as play time. You know, plus or minus. As you guys know, what I’ve said is it’s just kind of TBD. But I just tell the guys, hey, we all got to get ready to play. Obviously want to have some success out there. Want to move the ball, make first downs, score some points. Just play more consistently as an offensive unit and then be better on third down, get our run game going a little bit. Overall on offense, we just need to have a better outing.”

Young was under constant pressure. As was Corral, who is attempting to remain on the roster as QB3.

While absorbing a couple of big hits, Young finished 4 of 6 for 21 yards before being sacked on the final play of his debut.

Young on Wednesday didn’t hide from his shortcomings.

“Obviously, we had more MAs than we want, but I think operation-wise and as far as understanding alignment, assignment there is still for us to clean up for sure but from that standpoint, I thought there were positives there that we want to keep continuing to build off of,” Young said. “There’s always good and bad and the stuff that we got to get corrected, we’re building day in and day out to do that.”

Panthers’ Offensive Line Ready For Rebound Effort

Despite the unit’s overall shortcomings against the Jets, the offensive line is nearly set for the regular season. The lone competition remains at right guard for what could be a brief stint, at least until Austin Corbett recovers from an ACL injury.

And, despite the Jets’ raw game footage, expectations remain high for this unit, including tackles Ikem Ekwonu and Taylor Moton, center Bradley Bozeman and left guard Brady Christensen.

The Panthers’ OL depth should be improved with rookies Chandler Zavala and Nash Jensen returning from injuries. Both are expected to see time with the second and third units.

Reich remains eager to fill the right guard spot on an interim basis, possibly after Friday’s outing.

“It’s a competitive battle,” Reich said, as reported by “Probably want to get through this game and probably lean towards a decision after this game, so we go into that last game with how that starting five is going to be.”

While James Campen had three different players patrol right guard during the Panthers’ opening three series last week, the offensive line coach said he will pull back on the rotation a bit Friday, especially with Cade Mays sitting out with a neck injury.

“There will be a little rotation,” Reich said. “Not quite as much. Still working with Campy on that. Wanted to see these young guys (Chandler) Zavala and Nash (Jensen) get them through this week and make sure they didn’t have any setbacks, so I’ll sit down with Campy at some point today and kind of finalize what that’ll be.”

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