Sean McVay was elated for Thomas Brown when he was hired as offensive coordinator of the Carolina Panthers this past offseason, as it could have been his best opportunity yet to work up the ranks until becoming a head coach. Unfortunately, it seems that the promotion to move to Carolina has turned into an even more tumultuous situation than anything Brown could have imagined if he had gone anywhere else or stayed with the L.A. Rams.
Newsflash to prospective coaches looking for promotions next year: Be wary of Panthers owner David Tepper and all that implies.
Brown spent three years with the Rams under McVay, always changing his role depending on the needs of the team, including as assistant head coach in 2021 and 2022. Brown also coached running backs and tight ends, including reverting back to running backs coach last season after the team opted to make a change with Ra’Shaad Samples.
And then the Panthers fired Matt Rhule last season, opted not to retain interim head coach Steve Wilks, and hired Frank Reich to be their next man in charge. Reich was praised for his assistant hires, including former Rams coaches Thomas Brown and Ejiro Evero as offensive and defensive coordinators, as well as quarterbacks coach Josh McCown and running backs coach Duce Staley.
As of Monday, Reich, McCown, and Staley had all been fired.
Brown has retained his job and has even seen his role upgraded because of the dramatic happenings in Carolina to this week, but to what end will this turmoil be beneficial to him?
Interim #Panthers HC Chris Tabor just casually dropped the news that Parks Frazier will be the new QB coach and Thomas Brown will be the RB coach in addition to OC and playcaller.
— Edgar Salmingo, Jr. ✌️ (@PanthersAnalyst) November 28, 2023
Brown didn’t get play calling duties when Reich hired him to be the offensive coordinator, but that changed when the Panthers started off the season as the worst team and offense in the NFL. However, things didn’t get better when Reich handed him the reins and it would only be a few weeks until he took back play calling duties from Brown.
Strike one against Brown, even if the problems were not his fault.
After Reich was fired, it was announced that Brown would go back to being a true OC and calling plays under interim head coach Chris Tabor. In addition, Brown has replaced Staley as running backs coach, marking two years in a row he has had to do that.
If the Panthers continue to be one of the league’s worst offenses, it will be another strike against Brown. Even if the issues are talent and personnel and not his play calls.
Quarterback Bryce Young has not played well, he’s behind a bad offensive line, and the receiving corps could be the worst in the NFL.
Hey, Thomas Brown didn’t put the team together. But he will not get the career boost that he was hoping for, one that plenty of coordinators got simply from a matter of beneficial circumstances that were out of their control.
In a couple of months, Brown is likely to be fired. Not because he did anything wrong but because the guy that hired him was fired. Owner David Tepper is going rogue and it’s no telling what comes next in Carolina, only that the team will probably hire a seventh—yes, seventh (including interims)—coach since 2018. That coach probably won’t keep Brown or Eviro.
#Panthers owner David Tepper confirms they were supposed to trade to No. 2 and take CJ Stroud because they believed Houston would've taken Bryce Young at No. 1.
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) November 28, 2023
Tepper says everyone in the building wanted Young.
"We are totally confident in that pick."pic.twitter.com/csmpxlkbig
Could they return to McVay?
Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris could get hired as a head coach in 2024, opening the door for Eviro to consider a return. McVay might like Brown enough to ask him back in 2024. Here’s what he had to say about Brown earlier this year:
“I think it’s just his everyday approach,” McVay told reporters Monday. “He had great experience when we first got connected, but I remember watching Thomas when we played against each other in high school. He was one of the ultimate competitors. He’s always trying to just continue to perfect his craft.”
There’s always room for another good coach. There’s just usually not many of them with the Carolina Panthers.