Panthers' Adam Thielen on Bryce Young: 'Everything was stacked against him'

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Bryce Young’s 2023 rookie campaign left much to be desired for the Carolina Panthers, but the quarterback’s top wide receiver, Adam Thielen, still saw promise in the young signal-caller. 

“I think everything was stacked against him last year, unfortunately,” Thielen said about Young on Wednesday’s edition of “Good Morning Football.” “And I’m not gonna get into detail as to why that was. But I’m just really excited for him to have a fresh start, an ability to have a good coaching staff that’s gonna put a good plan together to help him be successful, and also to put people around him to help him be successful.

“I think what he really showed is his maturity over the year. I think his ability at times to just be very honest in front of the room and say, ‘Hey, this is what I’m not doing very well and this is what I need to get better at, and please hold me accountable,’ I thought was really impressive for a young guy.”

Carolina traded up to select Young — the 2021 Heisman Trophy winner — with the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft out of Alabama, but it then went on to have an abysmal season, finishing an NFL-worst 2-15. 

Head coach Frank Reich was fired after 11 games, with the Panthers ultimately changing offensive playcallers three times throughout the season. They hired former Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Dave Canales to be their new head coach in January.

[RELATED: Dave Canales says Panthers will ‘be in the hunt’ for NFC South title]

Young started 16 games for Carolina, had 2,877 passing yards, 11 passing touchdowns, 10 interceptions and a 73.7 passer rating, while completing 59.8% of his passes. He also rushed for 253 yards. On the whole, the Panthers averaged just 161.2 passing yards (last in the NFL), 104.1 rushing yards (20th), 265.3 total yards (last) and 13.9 points (last) per game.

Thielen was one of the offensive bright spots, totaling a team-high 103 receptions for 1,014 yards and four touchdowns. It was the third 1,000-yard season of his 10-year NFL career, the first nine of which he spent with the Minnesota Vikings

Thielen is now joined by recently acquired wide receiver Diontae Johnson, while DJ Chark Jr. and second-year player Jonathan Mingo are also in the mix.

Which NFL teams have had an under-the-radar offseason so far?

Elsewhere, the Panthers added guards Robert Hunt and Damien Lewis to their offense. They don’t have a first-round pick in next month’s draft, as it was used to trade up for Young last offseason.

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