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Carolina Panthers Fire First-Year Coach

According to a recent report, Carolina Panthers head coach Frank Reich could be fired before the end of the 2023 season.
Frank Reich Fired

At 1-10, the Carolina Panthers have fired head coach Frank Reich. After a strong finish to the 2022 season, the Panthers believed that Reich and first-overall pick Bryce Young could be enough to bring this team back to the postseason in a weak NFC South. Instead, Carolina is once again staring down a long, painful rebuild with no answer at head coach and a massive question mark at quarterback.

Ever since the Carolina Panthers parted ways with Cam Newton, the team has desperately been searching for some sense of organizational stability. The team began their search for relevance in 2020 with the additions of Teddy Bridgewater and head coach Matt Rhule. Bridgewater only lasted one season in Carolina, while Rhule made it through the first five games of the 2022 season. With Rhule gone, interim head coach Steve Wilks guided a combination of P.J. Walker, Sam Darnold, and Baker Mayfield to a 6-6 record over the back half of the season.

Despite the success, the Panthers front office decided to go with recently fired Indianapolis head coach Frank Reich. At the time, most believed that Reich was a scapegoat for a Colts organization that overlooked the quarterback position for years on end. However, Reich’s shortcomings this season show that the Colts made the correct decision, and the Panthers decided to cut their losses before the year is even done.

REPORT: Frank Reich Fired After 1-10 Start

According to a Sunday report by Will Kunkel of Fox 26 Houston, Reich’s coaching seat is reportedly “on fire”. As it turns out, that report was right on the money. At the end of the day, the coaches are responsible for the final on-field product, and Carolina has easily been the worst of all 32 teams. However, is it fair for Reich to fall on the sword for this fundamentally broken roster?

Who Deserves the Blame?

On the one hand, nobody could turn this team into a contender. While the defense has some playmakers, the complete lack of talent on offense is apparent on every single snap. Carolina’s pass-catchers are probably the worst collective unit in the league, the offensive line is terrible, and big-money free agent acquisition Miles Sanders is already losing work to Chuba Hubbard. Reich is responsible for coaching the talent that comes through the door, but he’s not the person acquiring that talent.

He also might not have been the one who decided to pick Bryce Young, as rumors leading up to the NFL Draft suggested that Reich and quarterback coach Josh McCown preferred C.J. Stroud. It’s impossible to know exactly what happened behind the scenes, but it appears likely that the front office heavily encouraged the selection of Young. Obviously, it’s still early in Young and Stroud’s respective careers, but Stroud is currently the vastly superior quarterback.

On the other hand, Reich has failed to get the most out of this roster. As evidenced by Steve Wilks’ finish to the 2022 campaign, the right coach can find a way to win with this team. Now, nobody is saying the 2023 Carolina Panthers would be Super Bowl contenders with Wilks or even Andy Reid, but this team should not be a one-win unit. Reich’s stale scheme is not bringing out the best in his players, and the team needs to find a younger offensive mind that can bring out the best in someone like Young. Just like how Sean McVay needed to replace an outdated Jeff Fischer, the Panthers need to try and find the game’s next great offensive mind.

Main Photo: Denny Simmons – USA Today Sports


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