The Carolina Panthers made all of their coordinators available to the media to give an update on the team early in the offseason. Special teams coordinator Chris Tabor and defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero each had a lot to say on their units, but the most interesting information came from offensive coordinator Thomas Brown. You can get more of each coach’s remarks from the team website here.
- Confirmed head coach Frank Reich will initially call plays on offense.
- Said the playbook is a 60-40 split between Reich’s philosophies and his own
- Those numbers vary depending on the packages and formations.
I’m excited to see a blend between what Brown is bringing over from his time under Los Angeles Ram’s coach Sean McVay and Reich’s years as a head coach after coaching for Doug Pederson’s Philadelphia Eagles.
The team is marrying two recent Super Bowl-winning offenses that didn’t rely on a juggernaut at quarterback. That’s not a shot at Matt Stafford or the future of Bryce Young, just an acknowledgement that the team is making a smart move building an offense that can be operated by not-Patrick Mahomes. I can’t wait to see what it looks like.
- Team is still deep in the early days of installing a new defense
- Evero specifically mentioned being impressed with Yetur Gross-Matos
- D.J. Johnson sounds like he checked every box except experience.
A brand new system on defense is a much harder install than a brand new system on offense. Responsibilities change more widely and, as Evero said, “these guys are doing a lot of different things, technically and fundamentally, than they’ve done in the past.”
In short, don’t trust any rumors or opinions on who is going to be starting opposite Brian Burns on the edge. It sounds like the guys we have don’t currently know enough of the defense for the team to properly evaluate a depth chart. That will come in time, though it does leave open the question of why the team was unable or unwilling to bring in an experienced 3-4 outside linebacker to help with this transition.
This has Evero and his staff set up for a huge test of their abilities as coaches, underlined by their selection of a raw Johnson in the draft. Evero has the potential to be a hot coaching candidate next season, but that won’t happen if his edge players are only riding the struggle bus every time they rotate off of riding the pine.
- The Panthers don’t have a set punt or kick returner entering training camp
- Water is also still wet
- Tabor calls Damiere Byrd “Byrd-man”
The day the Panthers enter the off season both confident and settled at either—let alone both—return positions will be the day after NFL Commissioner Kealoha Pilares announces the dissolution of the team.
As for Tabor’s nickname for Byrd, the man needs to hire Cam to come back as an assistant nicknames coach. The man has the time the right now. Tabor also needs to talk to Ron Rivera about Byrd’s posterior dimensions if he needs more help generating a decent sobriquet.