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The Carolina Panthers suffered yet another humiliating defeat this week, leaving them with a dismal record of 1-8 and the lowest standing in the NFL.
Typically, when a team performs poorly, they can anticipate the April draft and their fans can begin envisioning their preferred college players.
This year’s Panthers, as we are aware, have already exchanged their first round draft selection.
The current situation seems dire and calls for a significant change. There is increasing evidence that head coach Frank Reich may be held accountable.
However, I am not referring to the period after the season.
I foresee Reich being terminated before Christmas, possibly even before Thanksgiving dinner.
1. He deserves it
Last season, towards the end, the Panthers had established a distinct identity under interim head coach Steve Wilks. They relied on a strong running game and a defensive mindset to complement it.
Under the leadership of Frank Reich, the Carolina team lacks a distinct identity. In fact, according to our colleague Chris Lea on the most recent episode of “Panthers Playbook,” the team appears to have been stronger under Matt Rhule!
At first glance, it may seem exaggerated, but upon further examination and analysis, it is not as extreme.
One of the main factors for hiring Reich was his reputation as a “quarterback expert” who could assist in grooming the team’s future franchise quarterback.
That hasn’t happened.
Whatever your feelings on Bryce Young (and I’m not giving up on him yet), he certainly hasn’t looked like a well-coached or well-prepared player this season.
This Panthers offense just scored ZERO touchdowns against the Chicago Bears, and has often been described as lifeless, boring and unimaginative — basically the exact opposite of what Bryce Young was in college.
Despite our efforts to be gracious, it is evident that Reich has not effectively utilized Young’s exceptional abilities. What, then, would you say he is accomplishing in this situation?
The topic of aggressive decision making has become complicated this week. Reich initially delegated those responsibilities to offensive coordinator Thomas Brown during the break, but is now considering reclaiming them. However, it is doubtful that this will improve the situation.
Additionally, there was the Thursday night choice to try a 59-yard field goal in the final moments of the fourth quarter in an effort to tie the game.
In retrospect, Reich acknowledged that it would have been wiser to keep the offense on the field and attempt to convert a pivotal 4th down. At the same time, he attempted to deflect responsibility by citing the analytics department, stating that there was approximately a 40 percent probability of Eddy Pineiro successfully making the kick.
I am uncertain about the reason for the disconnect, but I observed Pineiro falling four yards short and then gesturing towards the sidelines, possibly indicating that he had warned against this outcome. In my opinion, there is a 0% possibility that this was the correct decision.
2. David Tepper’s track record
Despite any opinions on Panthers owner David Tepper, he has consistently emphasized two points since acquiring the team in 2018.
He lacks patience and is unafraid to make bold moves.
Frank Reich may be facing trouble as he has revealed the unpleasant experiences of one-on-one meetings with Tepper this season. Do you recall that?
During his tenure as a sports franchise owner, Tepper has terminated the employment of four coaches – Ron Rivera and Matt Rhule for the Panthers, as well as two others for Charlotte FC.
Three of the firings took place during the middle of the season.
Although it may be unexpected for many NFL team owners to dismiss their head coach in their first year, this would not be out of character for Tepper. In fact, it would align with his typical approach.
It is probable that GM Scott Fitterer will also leave.
It is probable that Frank Reich will not depart alone. General Manager Scott Fitterer will likely follow closely behind. In fact, he may even be the first to leave.
While with the Panthers, Fitterer has made confident statements about being involved in all trades and never having a top ten pick again. However, the outcomes have been disappointing.
Since being hired in 2021, Fitterer’s tenure has resulted in a record of 13-30 for the Panthers, ranking as the third worst in the league.
The initial results from his three draft selections have been less than impressive. This is also true for free agency, with the exception of Adam Thielen and Austin Corbett.
Fitterer’s time in office will be characterized by his three significant trade choices. Thus far, it seems that he has failed in all of them.
Trading away Christian McCaffrey, choosing to keep Brian Burns, and making the decision to trade up for Bryce Young were all debatable choices individually, but when combined, they create chaos.
Reworded: McCaffrey possesses the qualities that could benefit a developing quarterback like Young. Parting with him would only be logical if the intention was to completely overhaul the franchise… but then why retain Burns? Especially when the Los Angeles Rams were willing to offer two first round picks for him?
The Panthers are currently facing a difficult situation due to Fitterer’s inconsistency, as they are now ranked as the worst team in the league and lack adequate draft resources to take advantage of their position.
The outcomes are evidently insufficient and the Panthers will be parting ways with him. If a new GM takes over, it is probable that they will want to choose their own head coach to work with.
The national reporters’ rumblings are becoming increasingly pronounced.
I am starting to strongly believe that Reich may be terminated within a few weeks or even days.
National journalists are highly connected individuals in the world of sports, and they typically do not have to stress as much about maintaining relationships as local news media.
When Diana Russini from The Athletic stated on Tuesday that Frank Reich’s job is at risk and he must make significant improvements to keep it, I took notice.
The coaching status of a 1-8 team isn’t something that most fans outside the Carolinas are going to be clamoring for. It seems to me, that you’d only bring it up if there was some actual smoke that could imminently become a full-blown fire.
Examine the timetable and the point differential.
The Panthers are preparing to welcome the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, and it is highly likely that they will have a record of 1-9 after the game.
Other than a bizarre defeat to the Cardinals in Week 3, Dallas has dominated the weaker teams on their schedule.
The team defeated the Giants with a score of 40, the Jets with a score of 20, the Patriots with a score of 35, the Rams with a score of 23, and the Giants once more with a score of 32.
This team is perfectly designed to humiliate the 2023 Carolina Panthers. No one would be shocked if they lost by 30 points again.
Why are the Cowboys only favored by 10.5 points?
What information do the oddsmakers possess that is unknown to the general public?
Could it be that the coach of Carolina is facing his final chance to secure his position?
It is simply a hypothesis, however the individuals in the desert are certainly engaging in some activity.
I am curious about the potential number of days remaining for Frank Reich with the Panthers.
I am likely to choose the lower option, regardless of what it may be.