Panthers coach Frank Reich suddenly retakes play-calling duties after team’s latest loss

Just a few short weeks ago, Carolina Panthers coach Frank Reich decided to relinquish play-calling duties amid the team’s struggles on the offensive side of the football.

The Panthers fell to 1-8 last Thursday, but this week, Reich announced that he would once again assume the responsibility of calling the offensive plays during games. Carolina’s offensive coordinator, Thomas Brown, handled the play-calling duties for the past handful of games.

Carolina had a 1-2 record during Brown’s brief stint as the team’s play caller, but the offense only managed to score two touchdowns over those three games.


Frank reich on sideline

Then-Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich stands on the sideline in the first half against the New England Patriots, Nov. 6, 2022, in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

The Panthers got off to an 0-6 start this season with Reich calling the plays.

Under Reich, Carolina’s offense went from averaging just under 295 yards and 16.3 points per game to 237.3 yards, 16.3 first downs and 11.3 points per game in three games with Brown calling the shots.


The Panthers are 30th in the NFL in offense and 29th in scoring entering Week 11. 

“This is not about Thomas, this is about me and the team,” Reich said Wednesday. “I’m in this position I’m in because of my years of being a successful offensive coordinator and play caller. We have eight games left, and I want to give my full attention and do everything I can do to help the offense take the next step.”

Bryce Young walks toward head coach Frank Reich

Bryce Young, left, and head coach Frank Reich of the Carolina Panthers are shown during the first quarter of a preseason game against the Detroit Lions at Bank of America Stadium, August 25, 2023, in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Reich said Brown will continue to run the offensive install meetings and have input on play calls.

“I understand how this may appear to some, and there is nothing I can do about that,” Reich said. “As I have said from the beginning, the whole process is pretty collaborative anyway.”

Reich said the decision has nothing to do with concern over his own job security. The Panthers last made the playoffs in 2017, when they were a wild-card team. Billionaire David Tepper purchased the franchise in 2018, but the team has yet to have a winning season under his leadership.

David Tepper speaks during a Panthers press conference

Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper speaks during the introduction of Frank Reich as the team’s new head coach, January 31, 2023, in Charlotte, North Carolina. (David Jensen/Getty Images)

“I have not been given any ultimatum like that,” Reich said. “Do we want to be in control of our own destiny? Of course. This is about if I have something I can give to the team, I want to give it.”


Quarterback Bryce Young said the move won’t change much for him.

“It’s the same system,” Young said. “You hear a different voice [in your headset], but you are calling the same plays. From the beginning, both coaches have always had a big hand together in molding the game, molding the offense. And it’s still that. It’s not like we are going to [use] completely different plays or completely different terminology. It’s the same stuff.”

The Panthers host the Dallas Cowboys this Sunday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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