C.J. Stroud defends Panthers QB Bryce Young after tough rookie season

Houston Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud and Carolina Panthers quarterback Bryce Young go way back, where they grew up facing each other in middle school and high school. The two have shared plenty of moments after that, whether it was at the Heisman Trophy ceremony in college or the opportunity to be drafted first and second overall in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Despite Houston’s unfortunate loss in Carolina, one of the Panthers’ only two wins this year, the two are very close friends.


As such, it should come as no surprise that on the “The Pivot” podcast, with hosts Ryan Clark, Channing Crowder, and Fred Taylor, Stroud leaped to the defense of his old friend despite a tough season in Carolina.

“I feel like a lot of stuff didn’t go his way that was out of his control,” Stroud said. “You can’t make a play if somebody doesn’t block, you can’t make a play if somebody doesn’t catch the ball. When you watch the tape, Bryce did a lot of great things. He’s going to be a great player but it takes time. I came to a situation where, we were struggling, I know, but we still had a lot of great pieces. Nick Caserio, our GM, brought in a lot of great veterans. DeMeco was the perfect coach for our type of team. Like I said earlier, everyone’s path is different. Maybe I had a great rookie year and Bryce is going to have a great second year, you know what I’m saying? Hopefully I do too but I know that everything is going to be fine for him. I told him, ‘You the one, you’re the one for a reason. Don’t ever look at yourself different. Ever.'”

It’s a kind thing for Stroud to say after what many are calling the greatest rookie quarterback season ever. Carolina ultimately passed on the Pro Bowl quarterback and soon-to-be Offensive Rookie of the Year for Young, but the Houston star has no reason for animosity.

It’s always great to see players support each other in this capacity.

Hopefully Young can turn his career around next year under new head coach Dave Canales and the two can continue a rivalry that many looked forward to seeing.

Story originally appeared on Texans Wire