Three games after Frank Reich handed off play-calling duties to Thomas Brown, the Carolina Panthers coach is taking back the responsibility.
Reich told reporters he's resuming as the offense's play-caller starting this Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys. The veteran coach said the move is not a reflection of the Panthers' offensive coordinator.
"I'm in the position I'm in because of years of being a successful offensive coordinator and play-caller," Reich said on Wednesday. "We have eight games left, and I just want to my attention and everything I can do and everything I can bring to bear to help the offense take the next step. It'll still be collaborative. Thomas is still running the show as far as the offense and all the install meetings and game plans. He's still at the center. He and I work together like we've been all year. I trust Thomas more than anybody, and he's helped me become a better coach and better man. This isn't about that. This is about the team. This is about us all playing a role we think can help us these next eight games."
Carolina handed the play-calling duties to Brown during their Week 7 bye after an 0-6 start. The Panthers earned their only victory of the season in Week 8, but the offense continued to struggle. In the past three contests, Carolina has put up 15 points, 13 points and 13 points, respectively.
"This will have little or no impact on Thomas' long-term trajectory. He's too good of a coach and person," Reich noted of the OC.
With porous blocking and a lack of targets who generate separation, No. 1 overall pick Bryce Young has struggled. In eight starts, the rookie ranks last among 33 qualifying QBs in yards per attempt (5.4), 29th in passer rating (75.9), 25th in completion percentage (62.8) and tied for 25th in TD-INT ratio (8-7).
The Panthers' offense has been stale all season, with a lack of a rushing attack helping prop up the young quarterback. Most notably, along the way, Young has picked up poor habits, including bad footwork, which have plagued his struggles.
Reich dismissed the play-calling reversal as a significant change, noting only about 10% of the offense might change, and the process will continue to be collaborative.
Yo-yoing the play-calling duties, particularly with a young quarterback at the helm, speaks to the pressure Reich is under in his first year in Carolina. The 1-8 Panthers own the worst record in the NFL but don't hold the rights to the No. 1 pick after trading it away to draft Young.