Panthers coach Frank Reich announces decision to take over play calling from OC Thomas Brown

Carolina Panthers head coach Frank Reich speaks during a press conference after his team's loss to the Chicago Bears after an NFL football game Thursday, Nov. 9, 2023, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Erin Hooley)

The Thomas Brown play-calling experience in Carolina is over.

Two days after Carolina Panthers head coach Frank Reich said he was “still evaluating” who would call the plays in the team’s Week 11 matchup vs. the Dallas Cowboys, the coach ended the speculation at the beginning of his press conference on Wednesday.

“Just to get started, because I know someone will ask — regarding the play-calling — I am gonna resume the play-calling duties,” Reich told reporters. “This is not about Thomas. This is about me, it’s about the team. I’m in the position I’m in because of years of being a successful offensive coordinator and play-caller. We have eight games left, and I just wanna give my attention and everything I can do and everything I can bring to bear to help the offense take a next step.”

After being named the play caller heading into Carolina’s Week 7 bye, things started off … well for Brown in his first game. The Panthers won their only game of the season while he was in charge — a 15-13 victory over then 3-3 Houston Texans and second-overall pick quarterback C.J. Stroud.

After that, though, the offense has looked absolutely anemic and scored only two offensive touchdowns.

Reich said that the process will be a shared responsibility, and this isn’t a punishment of Brown.

“It’ll still be collaborative,” Reich said. “Thomas is still runnin’ the show as far as the offense and all the install meetings and game-planning. He’s still right at the center, me and him workin’ together like we’ve been all year. I trust Thomas more than anybody, and he’s helped me become a better coach and a better man. So this isn’t about that. This is about the team, this is about us all playin’ the role that we think can help us these last eight games.”

In October, Reich informed reporters that he would be delegating the playing-calling responsibilities to Brown. The team was 0-6 and needed a spark, so it switched things up. In the end, though, the results were worse.

Carolina’s offense averaged less in every pertinent category. The Panthers scored five less points per game, threw for 23.7 fewer yards, and rushed for 23 less yards, too, in the three games that Brown called plays.

Quarterback Bryce Young, the No. 1-overall pick in April, also suffered. Compared to the six touchdowns and four interceptions he tossed while Reich was running the show, he threw two touchdowns to three interceptions under Brown.

Overall, Carolina’s offense has been bad all season, as it ranks 30th in total offense and 29th in scoring.

All of this comes on the heels of the Panthers leadership is showing up at Wednesday’s practice.

The team doesn’t own a first round pick — thanks to its trade with the Chicago Bears to move up in the draft — and is the worst team in the NFL at 1-8.

Carolina actually just lost to the Bears on Thursday night, further helping Chicago get ever closer to having the top pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

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