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Frank Reich: Andy Dalton taking short-yardage reps can limit rookie Bryce Young's 'exposure'

The Carolina Panthers utilized Andy Dalton as a designated fourth-down quarterback in Monday night's loss to the New Orleans Saints.

Dalton replaced Bryce Young twice in short-yardage situations, one sideswiped by a false start and the other a pitch to Miles Sanders.

Panthers head coach Frank Reich noted that Dalton taking short-yardage reps could be a part of the plan moving forward.

"There's a lot of different things we could do, but I just feel very comfortable in Andy," Reich said on Tuesday, via the team's official website. "And some of those things you just want to limit the exposure of Bryce to -- and Bryce can do any of it, but you've got an experienced veteran.

"There's no golden rule that says he can't come in and play a couple plays in the game. I mean, look at what the Saints do. I know Taysom Hill's a different story. But why not do that to a lesser extent if it can be utilized in a positive way?"

Dalton's usage is sure to conjure more questions about Young's size -- 5-foot-10, 204 pounds -- and his ability to withstand a beating in the NFL. However, Reich noted his history of inserting a backup QB to take the short-yardage reps during his time in Indianapolis.

"That's not unprecedented by any stretch of the imagination," Reich said. "We had Jacoby Brissett, we brought him in on some short-yardage situations."

As we saw on Monday, Dalton's presence could signal a QB sneak to the defense, which might open other options in those situations. It's not unprecedented for coaches to look for alternatives to sneaking their starting QB. After Patrick Mahomes injured his knee in 2019 on a sneak, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid started employing the TE-motion-sneak into the plan. Whatever keeps Young healthy early in his career is the smart play by Reich.

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