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Panthers hand play-calling duties to Thomas Brown

Carolina Panthers coach Frank Reich called a bye week handoff, tossing play-calling duties to offensive coordinator Thomas Brown.

Reich informed players about the change Monday after the Panthers fell to 0-6 with Sunday’s 42-21 loss to the Miami Dolphins.

“I think the timing is right. This bye week is a checkpoint,” Reich said Monday. “You get those two weeks where it’s a little bit of, ‘Hey, let’s regroup.'”

Reich made the decision now to give Brown time to formulate his plan for the team’s post-bye, Week 8 game on Oct. 29. The matchup pits the Panthers and No. 1 pick Bryce Young against the Houston Texans, who drafted fellow quarterback C.J. Stroud No. 2 overall.

Reich said he discussed scenarios for giving up play-calling during the season in his interview with Panthers’ ownership.

“We talked about this periodically as we’ve gone, but this was my decision,” Reich said of informing owner David Tepper of the decision.

Brown, 37, is in his first year with Carolina. He spent the previous three seasons under Sean McVay with the Los Angeles Rams, coaching running backs and tight ends and serving as assistant head coach in 2021 and 2022.

Brown was the offensive coordinator and running backs coach for the Miami Hurricanes from 2016-18.

Reich, 61, said back when he was hired last winter that he would eventually turn over the responsibility for calling plays.

“I didn’t know Thomas before this year,” Reich said of why he waited to hand off play-calling chores. “I knew it was not a question of when. The play-calling is still going to be collaborative. Thomas will make the final call. He’ll be in charge. But it will still be collaborative.”

Brown called the plays during the second half of Carolina’s preseason games.

“I thought he did a great job. It came very easy to him,” Reich stated back in August. “He’s been doing it. The whole OTAs and training camp when we go two-minute, you know, I’m just having him call everything. He’s doing a great job. He’s a natural. He really is. Very quick-minded. If you know Thomas, you know he’s very decisive and he does call his plays with conviction. I think this is a great experience for him.”

Reich called the plays during his four-plus seasons as head coach of the Indianapolis Colts from 2018-22.

With Young under center, the Panthers have gained more than 350 yards of offense in only one game this season.

“I’m still going to be in the quarterback meetings, still going to be involved, but I’m not going to micromanage. I know what that feels like. He’s going to have control,” Reich said.

–Field Level Media

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