Panthers coach Frank Reich announces decision to take over play-calling from OC Thomas Brown

Carolina Panthers head coach Frank Reich speaks during a press conference after his team's loss to the Chicago Bears after an NFL football game Thursday, Nov. 9, 2023, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Erin Hooley)
Carolina Panthers head coach Frank Reich started his Wednesday news conference by saying he was taking over the play-calling from OC Thomas Brown. (AP Photo/Erin Hooley)

The Thomas Brown play-calling experience in Carolina is over.

Two days after Carolina Panthers head coach Frank Reich said he was "still evaluating" who would call the plays in the team's Week 11 matchup versus the Dallas Cowboys, the coach ended the speculation at the beginning of his news conference Wednesday.

“Just to get started, because I know someone will ask — regarding the play-calling — I am gonna resume the play-calling duties," Reich told reporters. "This is not about Thomas. This is about me, it’s about the team. I’m in the position I’m in because of years of being a successful offensive coordinator and play-caller. We have eight games left, and I just wanna give my attention and everything I can do and everything I can bring to bear to help the offense take a next step."

After being named the play-caller heading into Carolina's Week 7 bye, things started off ... well for Brown in his first game. The Panthers won their only game of the season while he was in charge — a 15-13 victory over then 3-3 Houston Texans and second overall pick C.J. Stroud.

After that, though, the offense has looked absolutely anemic and has scored only one offensive touchdown since.

Reich said that the process will be a shared responsibility and this isn't a punishment for Brown.

“It’ll still be collaborative," Reich said. "Thomas is still running the show as far as the offense and all the install meetings and game-planning. He’s still right at the center, me and him working together like we’ve been all year. I trust Thomas more than anybody, and he’s helped me become a better coach and a better man. So this isn’t about that. This is about the team, this is about us all playing the role that we think can help us these last eight games.”

In October, Reich informed reporters that he would be delegating the play-calling responsibilities to Brown. The team was 0-6 and needed a spark, so it switched things up. In the end, though, the results were worse.

Carolina's offense averaged less in every pertinent category. The Panthers scored five fewer points per game, threw for 23.7 fewer yards and rushed for 23 fewer yards, too, in the three games that Brown called plays.

Quarterback Bryce Young, the No. 1 overall pick in April, also suffered. Compared to the six touchdowns and four interceptions he tossed while Reich was running the show, he threw two touchdowns to three interceptions under Brown.

Young, for his part, said the right things in the aftermath of the news. During his weekly podium time, the signal-caller said he trusts the decision-making of the coaches, and it's up to the players to execute the plays no matter who is calling them.

Overall, Carolina's offense has been bad all season, as it ranks 30th in total offense and 29th in scoring. Young said the Panthers have the personnel to improve the product on the field.

All of this comes on the heels of Carolina's leadership showing up at Wednesday's practice.

The team doesn't own a first-round pick in 2024 — thanks to its trade with the Chicago Bears to move up in the 2023 draft — and is the worst team in the NFL at 1-8.

Carolina actually just lost to the Bears on Thursday night, further helping Chicago get ever closer to having the top pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.