The Panthers wrapped up their third interview of the head coaching search with Frank Reich on Wednesday.
Frank Reich was a quarterback in the NFL from 1985 to 1998 (one season of which was in Carolina). Reich started 20 career games and finished his career with 6,075 passing yards, 40 touchdowns, and 36 interceptions along with 2 starts in the playoffs. Then, he transitioned to coaching, starting as a coaching intern and offensive assistant from 2006 to 2008, before several stints as quarterbacks and wide receivers coach between 2009-2013 with the Colts, Cardinals, and Chargers. Reich got his first shot as offensive coordinator for the Chargers after being promoted in 2014, though he was fired following the 2015 season after a horrid offensive team performance.
Reich got another shot in 2016 with the Philadelphia Eagles as offensive coordinator, and led an offense with MVP candidate (at the time) Carson Wentz and eventual Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles to a ring during the 2017 season. This earned Frank a shot as the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts in 2018. His Andrew Luck led Colts managed a 10-6 record in his first season, and made the playoffs along with a victory over the Houston Texans in the Wild Card round, however they couldn’t get past the Kansas City Chiefs in the divisional round, a team who ended up in the Super Bowl but lost to the Patriots.
Reich’s coaching tenure unfortunately became very chaotic after that season, as Andrew Luck unexpectedly retired in 2019. That season, the Colts managed a 7-9 season with Jacoby Brissett as the starter. Then, in 2020, the Colts acquired the shell of Philip Rivers, where they had some luck, finishing 11-5 and falling to the Buffalo Bills in the Wild Card round. They then tried their hand with Carson Wentz and Matt Ryan in the following two seasons, combining for a 12-13-1 record before Reich was fired midseason in 2022.
Reich fits the apparent bill for what the Panthers are looking for, as all of their outside interviews for head coach are former offensive coordinators, many of which played quarterback in the league. Reich’s struggles in Indianapolis could be largely attributed to the sudden change in plans with their quarterback situation, as Luck retiring during the 2019 preseason certainly threw a huge wrench into whatever the long term outlook was supposed to be. Still, that roster is very talented, and they appeared to completely implode on offense in 2022 despite a supposedly solid offensive line and some great pieces on defense.
I could see Reich turning the Panthers around given they find the right quarterback, however his recent history isn’t great. Still, that Eagles Super Bowl run seemed to be something we should give a lot of credit to Reich for, as the Eagles offense looked completely different once Reich left in 2018. What are your thoughts? How would you feel if the Panthers chose to hire Reich?