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Again, G-O-L-O.com. The Carolina Panthers closed out the friendly season with a great loss. Who cares about the final score? Bryce Young led a couple of scoring drives including a touchdown to Adam Thielen. He looked good. He can't slide. He clearly didn't play baseball as a kid.
Joe Person from The Athletic covers the Panthers and joins us on the Adam Gold Show. Were you a baseball player? You looked like a baseball player back in the day.
Oh yeah. Listen, I grew up in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. You didn't have any choice. We were all Little League players. I bet you could slide better than Bryce.
You know what? I knew how to slide. That was an interesting conversation we had with him after the game. And he said, he said, look, he was kind of joking about it. He said, I didn't play baseball. Clearly I need some sliding lessons.
But all joking aside, they have to protect their number one overall pick. We've talked a lot, Adam, about his size and his frame. And yeah, just going out and sitting down on the turf just not seemed like an ideal situation. Victoria said it looked like duck, duck, goose.
That's the grading. I wish I'd thought of that Friday night when I was writing my story. It was fantastic. Alright, let's talk about the good. Because I think there was a lot of good, obviously, from those first two drives. Clearly there is some chemistry with Adam Thielen. Thielen even probably was a little late turning around on a back shoulder throw that went through his hands, just over his helmet. But obviously there was that. There also looked like they made a concentrated effort to be more of a throwing unit the first two drives before Andy Dalton took over.
Yeah, for sure. I mean, I'm like in that game Friday night, kind of everything we saw from Bryce. He was precise with most of his passes. He had a couple that he missed. You mentioned the scramble or you mentioned the lack of a slide, but we saw him three different times make plays with his feet.
And like you said, just two series. It was not a big window. We had not seen that this summer. We hadn't seen it at camp. We hadn't seen it in the preseason games. And we didn't see it a lot at Alabama.
They don't want him. They're not going to be running read option like the Panthers did with camp. They can't expose Bryce Young to many unnecessary hits. However, he does have the ability to slide around.
He has what they call pocket mobility. And all three of those runs he had against the Lions, albeit against the Lions second team defense. All three of them picked up first downs. Two of them came on third down. Adam Phelan said after the game, that's how you sustain drives. That's how you score in the NFL.
It isn't always going to be pretty. Sometimes you've got to make plays and have your quarterback move the chains with his feet. And that was encouraging to see from Bryce Young. I think what you're referring to, he had pocket presence where he was able to feel the rush, except for one time. He was able to feel the rush.
And it's just a subtle move, being able to change speeds. You know, like stop, start, let the defense kind of flow past him and then cut up. And he was very good at that. He was good at that at Alabama. And when you could do that as an NFL corner, especially as a rookie, he played with a lot of poise, I thought. He also seemed to be moving some things around.
I thought that was a lot good. The one bad throw, maybe to Wright, number 83, where he had him, but just overthrew it. I don't think Wright was all that interested in going up after it, which I don't blame him because it was a dangerous situation. But he had him. Yeah, he did. I remember the play you were talking about.
I think I use the expression alligator arms in the press box. Listen, we've seen just about. And I think Frank Reich has seen just about everything he'd hoped to see from Bryce Young this summer, starting with his mastery at the play. I won't say mastery with his quick study of the playbook. This is a complex playbook like Reich's offense alone has some intricacies. But then you have Thomas Brown bringing a portion of the Rams playbook with him from L.A. And you had we heard offensive players, even a couple. I remember Brian Burns saying, look, I'm not in the offensive meetings, but I know that that offense is pretty complex. And Bryce has picked up, picked it up very quickly.
So it started with that. And then just you and I talked about this, I think after OTAs or minicamp, just his presence and the way he was so humble. And he was confident without being a cocky jerk about it. And that really impressed the veteran teammates that like, here's this number one overall pick. He can't he came in here and he's yeah, we know he knows he's good, but he doesn't act like it. And I think that was impressive. And then really the most important thing is what he did between the white lines and still a lot to prove. Look, they played three meaningless games in August, the last of which against a second team defense. But certainly I think if they can protect Bryce Young, he's going I'm not saying they're going to the playoffs, but he looks like he can be the franchise quarterback that the Panthers hoped he would be. I don't think there's any question about that.
Joe Person from the Athletic at Joseph Person on X. All right. Something that obviously has been a bit of an issue in the preseason has been protection at left tackle. Iki Ikhwanu did get run around on the sack. Your thoughts on that? Other than that, was Ikhwanu better or did they give him a little help?
How did that work out? So, yeah, Iki had a rough preseason. I think he ended up giving up two sacks and four pressures total and not a lot of action. I mean, it wasn't like he was out there the same amount of time Bryce was.
So basically two series, all three games. Right. Now, I'm willing to give Iki the benefit of the doubt because we saw this a little bit last year. He had his growing pains week one against Browns All-Pro edge rusher Miles Garrett, as you remember.
And then after that, he settled in and had a very solid rookie year. Did they help him sometimes on third down with a tight end or running back? Sure, they did. But not all the time. I don't think Ikhwanu is going to be a problem.
I mean, I did pose the question, do they have an Iki Ikhwanu problem? I don't think so. I mean, I, I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. We saw, you know, the seeds being sown last year.
First of all, A, he's a terrific run blocker, always has been dating back to Providence Day and NC State. And I think I think I think the pass blocking will be there. I mean, it has to be.
I mean, that was as we've talked about. Scott Fitter wanted to get this offensive line right before he dropped in a number one overall pick behind it. And they still feel good about Iki Ikhwanu. I think the biggest reason to feel good about him is that he's a very smart kid. So he knows he knows where his deficiencies lie. I'm sure he'll work hard to overcome them.
And Frank Reich is also smart. So if they have to provide him a little bit of help, even with a chip from a running back or a tight end, initially, I think they can do that. What concerns might you have about the roster as we get closer to the waiver day when teams are going to be letting players go that they can keep? Maybe somewhere that the Panthers can get better.
Or wherever you discover your favorite podcasts. So their wide receivers are beat up now. The tricky thing, they had three guys missing Friday night, one of whom, Leviska, you know, told me after the game, hold me back this week out of the concussion protocol. So so then you're down to only two, Terrace Marshall and D.J.
Shark, both of whom are, you know, their key pieces. It's hard, Adam, this time of year to they don't that all the teams, one, are very cautious because they want to get to the starting line week one. And then, too, if one of them happens to be hurt more than they're letting on, they don't want that out because it hurts their their leverage as they hit the waiver wire. Talk to teams about picking up a wide receiver.
I tend to think none of them are season ending and I don't. They may all be ready for week one, but that's an area. And I wrote about this today in the athletic because I think they also would like to try to upgrade at return. And so that's either usually a wide receiver.
Right. Or sometimes a running back. But I think I would not be surprised to see them pick up either a back or a receiver that doubles as a returner. And beyond that, I think a cornerback could be a possibility. I know they just signed Troy Hill, who's got some age on him. I think getting a younger guy kind of to pair with Troy Hill behind J.C. Horn and Dante Jackson.
I mean, both those guys have now. I mean, I know it's only two years for J.C. Horn, but he's, you know, developing an injury history. And so you want to be deep at corner and then maybe along the lines. Something. But there's always talk about what a team's going to do. And Scott there will be this cuts they announced the roster they announced tomorrow will not be what they take to Atlanta week one. But it's not like going to change significantly.
But those are a couple spots I would look at. Yeah. This is the way I looked at it last week. And Joe Person from the athletic is joining us here. If I'm a defensive coordinator and I use the Bill Belichick theory, who do I have to take away? And I'm not sure that person exists.
Maybe that's good because, you know, if if if there's not somebody specifically I need to remove from the equation for you to make you beat me as my friend Steve Logan would say, beat me left handed. Maybe that's good, but I don't see that player on the, you know, on the offense for Carolina. Totally agree with you. I think I think they have a deeper receiving group, but they don't have the D.J. Moore type of guy who, you know, I know he never went to a Pro Bowl here, but he was an eleven hundred yard receiver just about every year. And just missed it, I think, last year.
And so that right. That was the guy that that defensive coordinators had to account for. Hayden Hurst, you know, I don't know that you really can.
I like Hayden Hurst. I think they're going to get him in some nice mismatches from that tight end position on a safety or an outside linebacker. But to your point, that's not keeping defenses up at night.
And so maybe that guy doesn't exist. And, you know, Jonathan Mingo has done some things this preseason as a rookie out of Ole Miss that feels like that would be a stretch for him to to to become the number one guy sort of overnight. Right. But yeah, I think that's that's another reason why when when a lot of the Panther fans are bullish on the playoffs and they're in and I get it, they're in a weak division.
I mean, they they'll probably hang around in contention, just, you know, match organically. But what I do pump the brakes a little bit for several reasons, one of which not the least of which is what you mentioned about there not being anybody outside of Bryce, maybe. Yeah, that's it. That scares you.
All right. Final thing for Joe Person from the athletic, because you you alluded to the division and I know fans are desperate. Fans are desperate. Nine wins might be enough to give you a chance, maybe a tiebreaker to win the division.
How do you see it shaking out? Who is who do you think the best team is in the NFC South? I haven't had this conversation with our columnist in Atlanta, Jeff Schultz, and he he's not sold on the Saints. And and I get it. It feels like they're the trendy pick just because of Derek Carr.
Right. Derek Carr had won a lot in this league. I mean, he's a fine quarterback. He puts up stats. I like the Saints defense, but they're old. And those those kind of guys, when it goes, it goes quickly.
That production falls off a cliff. And, you know, frankly, you know that you got to keep an eye on that. We're Justin Houston is concerned with the Panthers and their, you know, their late addition here this summer. So having said all that, I picked the Saints to win.
Schultz picked the Falcons. We both had the Panthers in the hunt with like eight wins. And I made that prediction back in May when the schedules came out by we're making it today.
I'd be right. I'd probably be seven and ten or eight and nine. So somewhere in that ballpark, I think if you can get to nine and eight, you got a shot. Ten wins. Ten wins and you are cruising home.
I believe. Schultz had the Falcons with ten wins. And I said, I don't think anyone in this division gets to ten. I think nine and eight wins.
I agree with you. If they get to ten, again, they are resting starters in week seventeen or week eighteen. It's not week seventeen.
It's week eighteen of the season. At Joseph Person on X, my friend, I appreciate your time. Be well. All right, buddy. Have a great week. You too.
Joe Person here on the Adam Gold Show. All right. We're going to get into week one of the college football season because finally it's here. We're done with all the scrimmages.
We're done with the media stuff. And now we get to see how it all looks. And if you think about what the ACC is going to show in week one, in weekend one, there is an ACC game every night.
Thursday night, Friday night, Saturday night, Sunday night, Monday night, five straight nights. The ACC will be featured in arguably the game of the night. State, UConn, among the most the biggest games on Thursday night. Is it a national game?
Of course not. CBS Sports Network will have that game because the because UConn is an independent and they control the TV rights of that one. But it's a great game for the Wolfpack to play in game one. Then you've got Friday, Georgia Tech and Louisville. Not the Georgia Tech so good because they're not. And I don't even know how good Louisville is, but I do know this. Louisville schedule is super easy and they've got a well, both teams have brand new head coaches. But this is this is the year that Louisville is supposed to kind of start coming back as an ACC power would be a stretch. But factor is not a stretch for it wasn't just Lamar Jackson.
Right. Then they had quarterbacks before Lamar and after Lamar that were capable quarterbacks. Louisville needs to be good. It's too much interest, too much money in that program for Louisville to be bad. It did not work out for Scott Satterfield. Just didn't. He was unhappy as soon as he got there.
As soon as he got there, he was trying to leave. He left that state, got the big gig at Louisville, and then he just obviously did not like it for whatever reason. But Louisville needs to be good.
It's part of the reason why ACC football has been down because Louisville has not been good, just like Miami has not been good, like Virginia Tech has not been good until last year, like Florida State has not been good. So you've got that game on Friday. Then Saturday night, Carolina versus South Carolina in Charlotte. An enormous game for the league. Obviously a big game for North Carolina.
They do not get a second chance to make a first impression, which is use the old commercial phrase. Carolina's cake will be baked Saturday night. No getting around it. You win that game.
You look good doing it. Look, nobody expects Carolina's defense to shut down anybody. Your offense comes out and looks the part. Drake May looks the part of a Heisman Trophy contender.
Of course, everybody is lagging well behind Sam Hartman at this point, he says facetiously. Touchdown, Carolina! Knock that one down. Now, it doesn't make a difference what happens in the next two weeks.
You would have already laid the egg. Because while I'm not saying Carolina's got an easy schedule, because the trip to Pittsburgh isn't going to be easy, that is also a loseable game. Carolina's schedule, I know Mac Brown complained about the end of it, there are roadblocks throughout all of it.
But if they can get off to a good start, they've already started to basically write a different story for them this upcoming season. Remember how it didn't go well Sam Howell's second year, really. They had all of the success in year one, and then he came out, the Heisman hype and all of that, and it went the other way. It wasn't his fault. I mean, I don't think he was as good, but it wasn't really his fault.
The team kind of fell apart around him. Well, the team can't do that with Drake May. Sunday is Florida State and LSU. Top 10 matchup. LSU, Florida State both have designs of being there when it's all over at the end in January. Realistic or not, both programs believe they belong, we'll find out in game one, but at least Florida State in week four gets to go to Clemson.
So if it doesn't work out, you have the chance at the ultimate rewrite for Florida State. That Sunday night and then Monday night, Duke at little ol' Wallace Wade gets to play host to little ol' Clemson. And I don't believe there will be a ton of Clemson fans there. Labor Day weekend coming up from South Carolina to Durham.
I guess some people will. What you're counting on if you're Duke? Students. Pack the place with students. But I think we're going to find out a lot about what Duke is going to be this year.
Labor Day night. It's a pretty good week of ACC football in week one. There are other games, too. I mean, APPS opening up the season, one against Gardner-Webb, right? And ECU goes to Michigan. We're going to talk about that more a couple of times this week. But Jim Zilke, the new voice of the Panthers, is going to join us. Panthers.
He is the voice, one of the voices of the Panthers, but also the new voice of the Pirates. He's going to join us tomorrow. We'll talk about ECU's trip to Ann Arbor and we'll get his thoughts on what he saw from Bryce Young in the last friendly. So that's where we are. Week one. We're really here. There are meaningful football games to watch. And that's cool.
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