Nothing has gone right for the Carolina Panthers in 2023. Their regular season performance has only been a continuation from the offseason, where all of the moves they made have backfired on them.
Watching No. 2 overall pick C.J. Stroud tear it up for the Houston Texans, quickly turning that franchise around, has to sting the Panthers. Not only did they pass up on him to select Bryce Young at No. 1 overall, but they also traded a ton of assets to the Chicago Bears to even move up and do so.
Alas, that may not have been the worst decision made this offseason. Hiring Frank Reich to become the next head coach looks like a decision that will set the franchise back for years. The team has gotten off to a 1-8 start and he has shown no ability to help get things back on track.
Most recently, Reich added even more fuel to the fire. Ahead of the team’s bye in Week 7, Reich decided to hand over play-calling for the offense to offensive coordinator, Thomas Brown. While the results weren’t much better with Brown at the helm, the Panthers did win their first game with him leading the way in Week 8 over Stroud and the Texans.
Since then, the Panthers have lost twice, including an ugly performance against the Chicago Bears on Thursday Night Football in Week 10. The team didn’t score an offensive touchdown in a 16-13 loss, which prompted Reich to consider a change.
While he was undecided on Monday about what to do with the play-calling, Reich made a final decision on Thursday. He opted to take the play-calling duties back from Brown, which shows just how much of a mess things have turned into.
It is a mistake to take the role away from Brown, as we have already seen how poor things run with Reich calling the shots. Why go back to something that you know doesn’t work instead of seeing if Brown can iron things out?
A three-game sample size for Brown being enough to make a final determination on his play-calling ability seems like a short leash when Reich himself had six. It is hard to envision things turning around any time soon, as this could be a last-ditch effort for Reich to save his job.
He could feel more confident going down with the ship knowing he was calling the shots, compared to watching someone else do it and losing his job anyway. There is pressure on Reich and his staff to at least show signs of improvement in the final eight weeks of the season, or major changes will be on the horizon for the Panthers.