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Firing Frank Reich after 11 games is nothing new for Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper

Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper fired coach Frank Reich 11 games into a four-year contract.

You should not be surprised. It’s what the hedge fund billionaire does.

After all, he’s now looking for his sixth head coach since he bought the team for $2.275 billion in 2018. The Pittsburgh Steelers have had three coaches — Chuck Noll, Bill Cowher, and Mike Tomlin — since 1969.

Special teams coordinator Chris Tabor is the interim coach, while special advisor Jim Caldwell will work with the offense. Caldwell has been head coach of the Indianapolis Colts (2009-12) and Detroit Lions (2014-17).

Related: 5 Carolina Panthers coaching candidates to replace Frank Reich

Frank Reich is owed an estimated $27 million over the next three years.

Tepper reportedly shouted “F—” as he left the locker room Sunday afternoon following the Panthers’ fourth consecutive loss and 10th time in 11 games.

Maybe he was mad about the loss. Or, perhaps, he was furious the club selected Bryce Young instead of C.J. Stroud.

Young, the first pick in the 2023 draft, passed for 194 yards as Tennessee beat Carolina 17-10. It was the fourth time this season Young had passed for fewer than 200 yards.

Young, completing just 61 percent of his passes, has passed for just 1,887 yards — 171.5 per game — with nine touchdowns and eight interceptions. He’s averaging just 5.4 yards per attempt, and his 74.9 passer rating ranks 31st among quarterbacks.

Stroud, the second player taken in the draft, has emerged as a star.

He’s second in the league in passing yards with 3,266 and has four consecutive 300-yard passing games and six overall. He has 19 touchdowns and five interceptions and has led the Texans to a 6-5 record.

His name has even been mentioned as an MVP candidate.

“Obviously it’s difficult. We all don’t feel great,” Young said after the game. “We just lean on each other in these moments. That’s really all we can do.”

Frank Reich

Frank Reich hired for ability to work with QBs

Tepper hired Frank Reich because he had a reputation as a quarterbacks guru. He went 40-33-1 in five seasons in Indianapolis with a different starter each year. But Carolina’s offense struggled all season.

After a 42-21 loss to Miami that dropped Carolina to 0-6, Reich gave the play-calling duties to Thomas Brown. Reich took them back two weeks ago.

None of it made a difference.

The offense has scored 15 points or fewer in six consecutive games. In the two games since Reich reclaimed play-calling duties, the Panthers have scored 20 points and allowed 11 sacks.

Carolina ranks 30th in total offense (265.9) and 32nd in yards per play (4.07). They rank 29th in rushing (92.6 yards per game), 30th in passing yards (173.3), and 29th in points scored (15.7). Only the New York Giants (-133) have a worse point differential (-119).

After the game, Reich said there was no time for a pity party.

“You think somebody’s gonna magically fix everything? No,” Reich told reporters. “We lost a close football game today. These games are winnable.

“That message doesn’t fly when you’re 1-10, but I know these games are winnable; I know we have the players and the coaches to do that, so we regroup and get ready for this week.”

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Carolina Panthers mortgaged future to draft Bryce Young

Tepper and Carolina’s fan base can’t even think about the draft providing hope for the future because Chicago owns its first-round pick, part of the booty the Bears received from Carolina for the rights to draft Young.

Carolina traded receiver D.J. Moore, first-round picks in 2023 and 2024, and second-round picks in 2023 and 2025. But the Panthers’ offensive line is terrible, and the best receiver they have is 33-year-old Adam Thielen, who hasn’t had a 1,000-yard season since 2018.

“You start to set things in place to make a change, and you want it to happen overnight,” Reich said. “Sometimes it takes longer than you want. But you have to keep your head down, be strong-willed, keep the vision clear, and come to work every day, and you’ve got to be able to fight your way through the tough times.”

Now, Tepper’s task is to find a quality coach. It could be a difficult job for a man who fired Ron Rivera
less than two years after buying the team and fired Matt Rhule about 2 1/2 years into a seven-year, $63 million

He’s not just reactionary when it comes to football.

Tepper has also fired two Charlotte FC head coaches within two seasons of owning that franchise.

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