When the NFL schedule was released and the 2023 NFL Draft was completed, both Carolina Panthers QB Bryce Young and Houston Texans QB C.J. Stroud likely circled this game as a defining game in their rookie seasons. Seven weeks into the season, the Houston Texans stand at 3-3 and the Panthers stand 0-6. No one could have predicted this nor the relative performance of the two quarterbacks. Yet, here we are.
Walker Clement of Cat Scratch Reader was kind enough to join us for this game that should still be very intriguing. Young is still a Heisman winner and an explosive quarterback. Anything can happen on any given Sunday, so let’s see if we can get some inside information from someone behind the walls in Charlotte.
Battle Red Blog: At the beginning of the year I’m sure Stroud and Young circled this date on the calendar. How do Panthers fans feel about BY through week seven?
Walker Clement: Mixed. There is always a loud minority who will hate any major change, but Young’s play has thrown fuel on their fire. His accuracy and decision making have been fine in the short to intermediate ranges, but he has been atrocious at anything over 15 yards downfield.
Basically, the lack of wins has translated to a depressed fan base. The opinions will largely change when and if results do.
BRB: Has the Panthers’ start to their season changed any plans going forward? Do you think they will be buyers or sellers at the deadline?
WC: They are rumored to be sellers , but nothing substantial has materialized yet. Jeremy Chin is one of their hottest names, but he’s now on injured reserve. Brian Burns may have too high a price tag to actually move. Everybody else is either injured, of questionable value, or on offense.
BRB: Who are some players on offense and defense that Texans fans may not have heard of, but will have a significant impact on the game?
WC: It has been awhile since any Panthers player has had a significant impact on a game, but keep an eye out for tight end Hayden Hurst and wide receiver Jonathan Mingo to make some noise in the passing game. They have both underperformed against expectations this season. If there was ever a time for that to change then it is going to be this week, off a bye, with a change in offensive play callers.
On defense, I really hope y’all come to know Amare Barno. He should be one of the top guys filling in behind Burns now that Yetur Gross-Matos is on injured reserve. You will also hear some new defensive backs’ names, but we won’t know who until we’ve signed them to fill in for whoever gets injured in practice this week.
BRB: The AFC South and NFC South seem to be similar divisions. Do the Panthers have a chance to get back in it? In general, who do Panthers fans enjoy beating the most out of their divisional foes?
WC: The Panthers are four and a half games behind the Atlanta Falcons. They have no chance. It’s not that the Falcons aren’t going to lose a bunch of games soon, because they probably will, it’s just that the Panthers have yet to win a single game. I have no hope of them ripping off a winning streak in that same time.
BRB: DraftKing Sportsbook has the Texans as three point favorites. That is the first time since 2020 that they have been favored. How do you see this one playing out? Are there any prop bets you feel comfortable recommending?
WC: I truly don’t know. Either offensive coordinator Thomas Brown taking over is going to have a huge effect and the Panthers win a shootout, or the offense remains anemic and can’t make up for a defense who will be on life support with zero depth regardless. We have no track record of Brown working either on his own or with Young calling an offense to make judgments from. Y’all are a true test case.
We want to thank Walker for his patience and good humor as he and the other Panther fans fight their way through this season. As Texans fans we have been there before and absolutely know the feeling. We want to wish Walker and the Panthers the best of luck for the remainder of the season. Of course, we hope all of that starts on Monday morning.