If you didn’t think anyone could be more in over their head than Nathaniel Hackett was in Denver last season, think again! Frank Reich only lasted 11 games with the Carolina Panthers before they decided to fire him on Monday.
One and done 🚨 🚨 🚨
The #Panthers have fired coach Frank Reich, sources say, moving on before his first season is over.
Special teams coordinator Chris Tabor is the interim coach and addressing the team now. Jim Caldwell moves to special advisor working with the offense. pic.twitter.com/Cn0WUJPhYA
Hackett was laughably in over his head, but he still went 4-11 in charge of the Broncos thanks in large part to a strong defense. Believe it or not, Reich had that luxury too — and again, was even worse!
That’s right. You may be stunned to know that Carolina ranks sixth in the NFL in total yards allowed per game. Because of how inept and antiquated Reich’s offense is, their scoring defense is third-worst.
Hackett at least got bailed out by his buddy Aaron Rodgers and can toil away as Jets offensive coordinator with another buddy in Tim “Fail Mary” Boyle under center. Not sure what Reich’s next move is or if there is one. May be time to retire, big guy.
My ex-colleague KenJac did a fine job breaking down how atrocious Carolina has been at finding a new franchise quarterback in the post-prime Cam Newton era.
– Spent a 3rd on Will Grier – Signed Bridgewater ($33M guaranteed). – Cut Cam – Traded a 2nd, 4th and 6th for Darnold – Traded Bridgewater for a 6th – Picked up Darnold's $18.85M option – Signed Cam – Spent a 3rd on Matt Corral – Traded for Baker – Cut Baker – Cut Cam -… https://t.co/KjW7LzfcwN
That search is apparently still on, unless the next regime finds a way to salvage the disaster that is Bryce Young’s rookie season. The former Heisman Trophy winner and reigning No. 1 overall pick out of Alabama has had a nightmare maiden pro campaign. When you compare how he looks to the man drafted right after him, Texans QB C.J. Stroud, it looks like Carolina f*cked up in a massive way by snubbing the ex-Ohio State star.
Quick cut-in: Speaking of the Buckeyes, the only recent NFL coaching tenure that was worse than whatever Reich just did is Urban Meyer.
Quick hooks for NFL head coaches is commonplace:
-Jaguars’ Urban Meyer, fired after 13 games (2021) -Broncos’ Nathaniel Hackett, fired after 15 games (2022) -Panthers’ Frank Reich, fired after 11 games (2023)
Anyway. Just think about the Panthers and Texans for a second. Houston was blasted for trading up from 12th to third overall with Arizona to acquire pass-rusher Will Anderson Jr. to pair with Stroud atop a franchise-changing draft class. We were all convinced that Texans 2024 first-rounder would be in the top five. The Cardinals would actually be picking 17th with that asset if the season ended today.
…Meanwhile, the Panthers were universally applauded from moving from ninth to first in the draft order in a blockbuster trade with the Chicago Bears. That not only cost them their first-round pick next year — currently the first overall pick! — but they also shipped away a legit WR1 in DJ Moore. Skill position talent has been as much to blame as anything for Young’s lack of development.
Somebody had to take the fall, though, and Reich was the guy in this instance. Here’s what owner David Tepper had to say:
If you look at the offensive coaching staff on paper, between Reich, Thomas Brown, Josh McCown, Jim Caldwell and Duce Staley, it’s a straight-up loaded group. The fact that these football minds couldn’t band together and figure out how to get much of anything out of Bryce Young is a damning indictment on Reich’s leadership.
I can’t recall a more precipitous collapse in the coaching profession than what’s transpired with Reich of late. He was the offensive coordinator for the Eagles when they outgunned Tom Brady and the Patriots to win Super Bowl LII, in which TB12 passed for over 500 yards. He proceeded to help Andrew Luck play the best ball of his career before Luck suddenly retired.
Luck’s exit was the beginning of the end of Reich’s reign as a reputable coach. The Colts had a revolving door of stopgap QB options. Never found a solution. Reich was let go last year in favor of ex-player and ESPN analyst Jeff Saturday, who went 1-7 in his stead.
It seemed like Reich had a new lease on life when he got the gig in Carolina. Folks were quick to jump all over Matt Rhule and run him out of town. Hard to win if you don’t have a quarterback and a meddling owner. Forgive the X post typo below because the segment feeds into all the points I’m making.
“The trade for Bryce Young was a Tepper call. Paying Matt Rhule…was a Tepper call…they’re screwed if Bryce Young doesn’t figure it out…there is no fix for a mettlesome owner.”
Instead, his organization drafted and look to be in serious trouble. Indianapolis drafted Anthony Richardson with the fourth overall pick. Although Richardson suffered a shoulder injury that cut his rookie year way short, he looks miles better and is far more physically gifted than the pint-sized Young.
Now isn’t the time to bail on Bryce Young. Let’s see what he can do with a more modern-thinking head coach. Give him a better No. 1 option than an aging Adam Thielen. Far better pass protection would stand to help, too.
The Panthers’ failure isn’t on Reich alone. That front office can’t evaluate offensive football talent to save their lives and needs to be turned over in the offseason.
The Panthers have the least talented offense in the NFL, and between Reich, Fitterer and Tepper, Reich has had by far the smallest hand in that issue
It’s just gonna be tough to watch the Bears have that top draft pick and wonder what could’ve been for those who do pick up the reins from Reich. And FYI, future applicants: You’ll have an uphill battle with Tepper as owner. He was the one who allegedly demanded the Bryce Young pick. Oops.
Now that Panthers have fired Frank, hopefully someone with actual knowledge can confirm David Tepper, not Frank Reich, decided to draft Bryce Young No. 1.