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Carolina Panthers v Chicago Bears

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The 2023 season wasn’t supposed to go this way. After an off-season filled with renewed hope, after trading up to draft Bryce Young, and hiring an all-star coaching staff, the Panthers were never supposed to be 1-8, and of the NFC South race before Thanksgiving, but here we are. And the biggest reason why is Carolina is failing their #1 draft pick at virtually every turn.

After trading away a veteran wide receiver to Chicago to get the opportunity to draft Young, it was imperative that Carolina surrounded Young with proven weapons. While Scott Fitterer nailed the free agent signing of Adam Thielen, everyone else has been a miss. Hayden Hurst has been an afterthought in most games, Jonathon Mingo has struggled to make consistent plays, the coaching staff quite literally forgot to play Terrace Marshall Jr one game, and the injuries that have plagued DJ Chark his entire career resurfaced once again in Carolina. Factor in that Miles Sanders hasn’t been nearly as productive with the Panthers, as he was with the Eagles, Young has no resemblance of a running game for the majority of his rookie season.

But as bad as Carolina has been on the field, the dysfunction that exists in the building off the field might be more crippling. After an 0-6 start, Frank Reich gave up his play-calling duties, handing them over to Thomas Brown, a first-time play-caller in the NFL. While Brown was the play-caller in their lone win over the Texans, the offense has shown no signs of progress, which today led Reich to let it be known, that he doesn’t know who will call the plays on Sunday, against Dallas.

We all know that owner, Dave Tepper is very much involved in the football operations of his franchise, which has hindered his team from winning at the desired rate. After less than 3 weeks after Reich gave up play-calling duties, it now looks like it was a decision forced by ownership if he’s already contemplating taking back over play-calling. At 1-8, reports are starting to heat up that Reich could be on the hot seat, after just getting fired last season in Indianapolis, and he’s even emerged as the betting favorite to be the next head coach fired after the Raiders fired Josh McDaniels roughly two weeks ago. With that in mind, it makes sense why Reich would take back over play-calling, as he feels it’s the best way to save his job.

While that ultimately isn’t fair to Thomas Brown, the person this hurts the most is rookie QB Bryce Young, who isn’t being developed the way that other rookie QBs in the NFL are, because of an overstepping owner, who hasn’t learned from his mistakes he’s previously made.