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Should the Carolina Panthers Fire Frank Reich?

The Carolina Panthers lost another game on Thursday, leading to rumors that the team could fire head coach Frank Reich.
Frank Reich Fire

The 2023 Carolina Panthers are a dumpster fire, and following their latest loss, there are some rumors circulating that the team could fire head coach Frank Reich. After spending five mostly positive seasons with the Indianapolis Colts, Carolina hired Reich to guide their franchise into the future. Instead, the team has the worst record in football and doesn’t even have their first-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. Is it time for the Panthers to part ways with their coach, or should they give him a little more time to turn the ship around?

Will the Carolina Panthers Fire Frank Reich?

Why They Should

At the end of the day, a head coach is supposed to win football games, and that has not happened for the 2023 Carolina Panthers. The team currently owns a 1-8 record after a disappointing loss to Chicago Bears backup quarterback Tyson Bagent and the team is on a collision course with the first-overall pick. Or, they would be if they actually owned that selection. After aggressively trading up for the rights to select Bryce Young, the Panthers forfeited their first-round selection in 2024.

This is the type of move a team makes when they believe they have the foundational stability to support a winning organization. Nobody expected the Panthers to win the Super Bowl this year, but they should’ve been better than this. A large part of the team’s shortcomings rests with the quarterback. It’s too early to call Bryce Young a bust or to say that the team should have selected C.J. Stroud. After all, at this point in 2021, Mac Jones looked like the best quarterback in his class. However, the fact of the matter is that while he has flashed a little, Young has not played well. Frank Reich was hired to help develop a young passer into a franchise quarterback, and if he can’t do that, the team could fire him.

Losing is bad enough, but it’s the way in which they lose that could also cost Reich his job. Throughout the season, the head coach has made multiple questionable decisions that have cost his team games. For instance, last night Reich decided to attempt a 59-yard field goal to tie the game rather than go for a 4th and 10. Reich explained his reasoning after the game, but the math disagreed with his choice. To be clear, the Panthers probably lose the game no matter what, but he made a suboptimal decision. No matter how you slice it, trying to make a low-percentage kick for the right to tie a game, rather than win it, is a bad decision.

Why The Panthers Should Not Fire Frank Reich

One of the most common sayings in the NFL world is that players win games and coaches lose them. From Bill Belichick to Bruce Arians, it’s a common refrain among the brightest minds in the game. Basically, you need talent to win football games, and the Carolina Panthers just don’t have enough to go around. The offense is one of the worst in the league, but that’s largely because they have one of the worst collections of talent in the league.

As mentioned earlier, Bryce Young is not playing well, but he’s a rookie and every single rookie needs some type of support system in place. That infrastructure simply does not exist in Carolina, as his best receiver is an aging Adam Thielen. Quite frankly, Thielen is the only guy on the offense that looks like he even belongs on a football field. The Terrace Marshall hype train once again never left the station, D.J. Chark has not done much of anything, and fellow rookie Jonathan Mingo has yet to turn his athletic prowess into on-field results. Even the running game is a disaster, as big-money free agent Miles Sanders has already lost his job to Chuba Hubbard.

At the end of the day, it’s hard to imagine any coach turning this team into a consistent winner. If good players were underperforming, then the Panthers would have no choice but to fire Frank Reich. However, since there isn’t much talent to go around, it’s hard to blame Reich for failing to make chicken salad out of chicken poop.

The Verdict

Frank Reich may or not be the long-term answer for the Panthers, but they shouldn’t fire him quite yet. He’s earned the right to finish the 2023 season as the Panthers head coach. If the team shows some fight down the stretch, then he should keep his job for another year. However, if this organization continues to struggle without showing any signs of life, then they’ll need to part ways with Reich and begin their head coaching search anew.

Main Photo: Jamie Sabau – USA Today Sports


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