The Carolina Panthers require a boost.
One of the reasons why head coach Frank Reich made the decision on Monday to hand over play-calling responsibilities to offensive coordinator Thomas Brown was due to his team’s 0-6 record following a 42-21 defeat against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.
The team known as the Panthers currently hold the 23rd spot in overall offense and are placed 22nd in terms of scoring, led by their rookie quarterback, Bryce Young.
Reich expressed his belief that this could potentially ignite a positive outcome. He has high hopes that it will, as it would be fantastic. The players have a strong admiration and regard for Thomas, and I am confident they will give their all for him. This is an excellent chance for both Thomas and Bryce (Young) to progress together. It’s significant to have the coordinator, play-caller, and quarterback aligned in their approach.
Reich had considered giving Brown the responsibility of calling plays during the regular season, but ultimately decided against it due to Brown’s lack of experience compared to Reich in that aspect. Brown has not yet called plays at the NFL level during the regular season.
According to Reich, Brown has contributed to making play calls this season and even called some plays during the preseason.
Reich stated that it was his own choice, not that of owner David Tepper, to make the change at this time. He deemed it to be the appropriate timing, as the Panthers are entering their bye week, allowing Brown a two-week window to get ready for their game against the Houston Texans on October 29th.
He also stated that the decision would probably have been reached regardless of the fact that the Panthers are currently the only winless team in the NFL.
“It has always been a planned decision that Thomas and I discussed when he was hired,” stated Reich. “I am thrilled for Thomas and our team, and I have full faith in his abilities. He is an exceptional leader with a brilliant offensive mind. The timing couldn’t be better.”
Brown is now the third Black offensive play-caller in the current NFL season, along with Eric Bieniemy from Washington and Brian Johnson from Philadelphia.
Despite facing losses, Young is improving. He appeared more at ease in the pocket during the game against the Dolphins, completing 23 out of 38 passes for 217 yards and scoring a touchdown. This helped Carolina take an early 14-0 lead. However, Young faced significant pressure in the second half and was sacked four times.
WHAT NEEDS HELP
The offensive line of the Panthers is not performing well. They have given up 19 sacks so far this season, which is tied for the fifth highest in the league. They have also lost 241 yards due to sacks, the most in the league. However, there is some positive news for the Panthers as guard Austin Corbett may return to play after the bye week. He has been out since tearing his ACL in the last game of the 2022 season.
Adam Thielen, the wide receiver for the Panthers, has been exceeding expectations with 57 catches in the last five games, resulting in 497 yards and four touchdowns. In three out of the last four games, Thielen has caught at least 11 passes and has scored four touchdowns in the past five games. The team is now in need of a complementary wide receiver, such as DJ Chark, Jonathan Mingo, or Terrace Marshall, to step up and fill this role.
The Panthers acquired Hayden Hurst from Cincinnati during the offseason with the expectation that he would play a significant role in their passing game. However, after a strong performance in the season opener against Atlanta where he caught five passes for 47 yards and a touchdown, Hurst has not been a major contributor, only recording nine receptions for 75 yards and no touchdowns over the course of the past five games. This past weekend, it appeared that the Panthers were shifting their focus to Tommy Tremble at tight end.
The Panthers have been struggling to avoid injuries during their games. On Sunday, Laviska Shenault, a wide receiver, had to leave in the second quarter due to an ankle injury and was unable to return. It is possible that he will be out for a few weeks. Additionally, the team’s already depleted linebacking roster was impacted by Yetur Gross-Matos’ hamstring injury and Frankie Luvu’s hip issue. It is unclear if both players will be able to play in future games, as no updates were given by coach Reich on Monday. The Panthers have already lost linebacker Shaq Thompson for the rest of the season due to a broken leg.
The Panthers are likely to have cornerback Jaycee Horn back in action after returning from their bye week in Week 8. He is seeking a second medical evaluation.
The Panthers gave up points to the Miami Dolphins on every one of their five attempts in the red zone.
This week, the Panthers will have a break before facing the Texans on Oct. 29. The game will showcase the top two picks in this year’s NFL draft: Carolina’s Bryce Young and Houston’s C.J. Stroud.
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