The Panthers have hired Frank Reich as their next head coach.
The #Panthers are hiring former #Colts coach Frank Reich as their new head coach, sources tell me and @TomPelissero. The organization’s first QB, he now becomes their coach. pic.twitter.com/M0vIee9ZtK
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 26, 2023
NFL amateur historians remember Reich as the first quarterback in Carolina’s history, starting the inaugural Panthers game in 1995. Prior to that, he spent time with the Buffalo Bills. Reich was the backup quarterback on the Buffalo teams that lost four consecutive Super Bowls.
Reich has been in coaching since 2006 when he joined the Indianapolis Colts as a coaching intern. After successful stints with several teams, he was hired as the Philadelphia Eagles Offensive Coordinator in 2016. Reich led a potent Philadelphia offense that won the Super Bowl during the 2017 season. In maybe his greatest coaching feat to date, Reich made Carson Wentz look like an MVP candidate that year.
Reich returned to Indianapolis in 2018 as their new head coach. Reich oversaw a quarterback carousel in Indianapolis that included Jacoby Brissett, Philip Rivers and Matt Ryan. He coached Indianapolis to the playoffs twice in four years despite this mediocrity. Indianapolis fired Reich in November after a 3-5-1 start.
Reich is an offensive specialist. Per ESPN’s David Newton, this was the major reason why Reich was hired over Panthers interim coach Steve Wilks. Following former coach Matt Rhule’s 1-4 start to the season, and subsequent firing, Wilks led the Panthers to a 6-6 record and almost made the playoffs. But Wilks is a defensive coach, and owner David Tepper reportedly wanted someone offensively oriented.
Reich’s hiring likely signals the Panthers drafting a quarterback in the upcoming draft. With Carolina currently sitting at ninth in the draft, they should be in position to draft one early. Bryce Young, CJ Stroud, Will Levis, and Anthony Richardson are all expected as high first-round picks, and the Panthers should be able to pick one of them as the new face of Reich’s regime.