Panthers expected to pick offensive-based coach to help Bryce Young

ByADAM SCHEFTER
December 2, 2023, 6:09 PM

Sweeping changes came to Carolina last week, and there will be more ahead, starting with the new head coach that Panthers owner David Tepper chooses.

The expectation across the NFL is that Tepper will look to hire an offensive-minded head coach, someone who can help quarterback Bryce Young fulfill the potential that Carolina saw when it made him the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL draft.

"He wants to go the offense route," said a league source familiar with the Panthers thinking.

Potential contenders for the job are likely to include Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson, who withdrew from consideration for the Panthers' head-coaching job just over a year ago, and Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Brian Johnson. There will be other candidates as well, and many teams that have openings this offseason are expected to look to Johnson and Johnson.

Carolina needs to hire a head coach to champion and influence Young in the same way that the Miami Dolphins hired Mike McDaniel to champion and influence? Tua Tagovailoa, another former Alabama quarterback who struggled during his rookie season. McDaniel helped transform Tagovailoa not only into a bona fide NFL starting quarterback but also an MVP candidate. Prior to hiring McDaniel, there was talk of Miami giving up on Tagovailoa and signing Tom Brady or trading for Deshaun Watson.

It also remains uncertain who will help guide Tepper. The Panthers haven't given general manager Scott Fitterer any assurances that he will be retained, league sources said, though Carolina has intimated to some around the NFL that it would like to keep Fitterer. Even so, league sources believe Fitterer's future remains up in the air.

Interim head coach Chris Tabor will lead the Panthers for the remainder of this season. In his new role, Tabor has emphasized to the team as it prepares for Sunday's game at Tampa Bay to play fast, stay loose and relax. The Panthers hope the message pays off Sunday and for the remainder of the season as they work to remake their culture.

Furthering those efforts will be the change in playcallers. Offensive coordinator Thomas Brown, who called plays for three games before having that responsibility taken back last week by former head coach Frank Reich prior to his firing Monday, regains his role.

Senior assistant Jim Caldwell will be a special adviser to Brown, and Panthers quarterbacks coach Parks Frazier will move from the booth to the field to have more direct contact with Young. Frazier succeeded Josh McCown, who was fired Monday along with Reich and assistant head coach and running backs coach Duce Staley.

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