Could another former Sean McVay assistant become an NFL head coach by the end of the season? That became slightly more foreseeable on Monday with the announcement that Panthers head coach Frank Reich will give offensive play calling duties to coordinator Thomas Brown just six games into Reich’s disastrous tenure with Carolina. The Panthers are 0-6 and on the verge of a complete meltdown as number one pick Bryce Young has struggled and Carolina ranks as one of the least efficient offenses in football.
If this continues, either Brown or Ejiro Evero, another former McVay assistant, could become an interim head coach by the end of the season.
#Panthers coach Frank Reich informed players today he has decided to hand over play-calling duties to OC Thomas Brown, sources tell me, @MikeGarafolo and @RapSheet.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) October 16, 2023
Brown, 37, is highly regarded. Now, with Carolina 0-6, he’ll call the shots for No. 1 pick Bryce Young. pic.twitter.com/vNjFyfRKor
Thomas Brown was McVay’s assistant head coach from 2021-2022 and just the running backs coach in 2020. Reich hired him as offensive coordinator this offseason but not with play calling duties. There is some speculation that Carolina would have given Brown play calling duties eventually anyway, but is that really something that the Panthers would have done if they were rolling at 5-1 or 6-0 instead of 0-6?
More likely, Carolina is going to do whatever it takes to get a win because they can’t even tank: The Panthers traded their first round pick, currently slated as first overall, to the Chicago Bears in order to move up for Young.
Reich, who was fired less than a year ago by the Indianapolis Colts and has already openly voiced that he constantly has “not fun” meetings with owner David Tepper, may not survive until the end of his first season in Carolina. If the Panthers fire Reich midseason, it is possible that either Brown or Evero, who was hired after one year as the Broncos defensive coordinator following a stint under McVay, would take over interim duties.
However, the Panthers also have former head coaches Jim Caldwell and Dom Capers on the staff, as well as assistant head coach Duce Staley.
McVay has his branches all over the league. There are four former Rams assistants who are current head coaches: Vikings Kevin O’Connell, Bengals Zac Taylor, Packers Matt LaFleur, and Chargers Brandon Staley. Three of four are offensive coaches and Minnesota’s offensive coordinator Wes Phillips also worked in L.A. prior to his promotion. Green Bay’s defensive coordinator Joe Barry was with the Rams prior to promotion. Seahawks offensive coordinator Shane Waldron and offensive line coach Andy Dickerson were also McVay disciples. Brown and Evero are the first official play callers on both sides of the ball for one team.
You could say the Rams also have a significant influence on the 5-1 Detroit Lions because of general manager Brad Holmes, a former Rams executive, and quarterback Jared Goff.