Panthers’ Frank Reich to take back play-calling duties from OC Thomas Brown: Why move was made

Carolina Panthers coach Frank Reich will resume play-calling duties, he said Wednesday, less than a month after handing them over to offensive coordinator Thomas Brown. Here’s what you need to know:

  • The Panthers are an NFL-worst 1-8 after going 1-3 with Brown calling plays in Weeks 8 to 10. They face the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday after falling to the Chicago Bears last week.
  • Reich said Wednesday the move is “not about Thomas. It’s about me, the team.” He added the decision ‘”will have little or no impact on Thomas’ long-term trajectory” because “He’s too good of a coach and person.”
  • Brown, who served on the Los Angeles Rams staff from 2020 to 2022, joined the Panthers in February in the OC role.

Why did Reich flip-flop?

In a word, desperation. The Panthers are 1-8 and everyone in the organization is feeling the heat — no one more so than Reich. It’s not like the Panthers were an offensive juggernaut when Reich was calling plays initially, scoring 10 offensive touchdowns in six games and averaging less than 300 yards a game. The numbers didn’t improve under Brown, the former Rams assistant who has not previously called plays. And Reich figured if he’s going to go down after just one season in Carolina, he might as well do it on his terms. — Joe Person, Panthers staff writer

But at what cost?

The 37-year-old Brown was one of just three Black offensive coordinators calling plays in the NFL, along with Eric Bieniemy and Brian Johnson. When he was handed the keys to the offense a month ago, Brown mentioned wanting to help the Panthers succeed while also opening doors for other minority coaches. Instead, he’s had the rug pulled out from under him after only a three-game sample size. Reich said the move shouldn’t negatively impact Brown’s career path. But it certainly didn’t help an up-and-coming coach who’s interviewed for head-coaching positions the last two hiring cycles. — Person

Required reading

(Photo: Jamie Sabau / USA Today)

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