Panthers rookie QB Bryce Young to start preseason opener

SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- Carolina Panthers rookie quarterback Bryce Young will start Saturday's preseason opener against the New York Jets, coach Frank Reich said Sunday.

Reich, however, did not commit to how many snaps or series the top pick of the 2023 NFL draft would get in the game at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina.

"I do have an idea,'' Reich said. "There is flexibility in the plan. There has to be. That's just being smart about it. We have a general idea how many plays we want to get through the whole preseason, but that can be adjusted by 10 or 20 percent depending on how things go.''

The plan to play Young shouldn't come as a surprise. General manager Scott Fitterer said on the day players reported to camp that Young needs reps.

"We're not going to put him out there before he's ready,'' Fitterer said at the time. "But he needs those reps.''

Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers isn't expected to play. Coach Robert Saleh recently said the four-time MVP would play only in the team's final preseason game against the New York Giants if he felt the starters needed work.

Rodgers will get most of his work in joint practices against the Panthers on Wednesday and Thursday at Wofford College in Spartanburg.

Young also is expected to get extensive work during the joint practices, marking the first time he'll face an opposing NFL defense.

"I'm super excited for that,'' he said on Saturday.

Young also is excited for the opportunity to meet Rodgers for the first time.

"He's somebody I've watched and studied and looked up to a lot throughout my life,'' said Young, who added that he modeled some of his game after Rodgers, in terms of arm angles and throwing off balance. "I have a ton of respect for his game.''

Reich said Wednesday's joint practice will be heavy against the Jets, with the second lighter as the teams break into some individual drills. He hopes that reduces the chances of a fight, noting most fights in joint practices break out on the second day.

"The fighting thing I just cannot stand,'' Reich said. "It's just useless. I mean, I get it. It's a very emotional game. Hopefully, we'll be pros about it. Listen, the guys don't want to fight. Everybody is a very prideful competitor.

"So we will do everything in our power to promote non-fighting.''