Panthers OC Thomas Brown already awed by Bryce Young

Bryce Young throws during Alabama's pro day. Carolina Panthers head coach Frank Reich and his assistants look on.

Syndication Tuscaloosa News
Credit: Gary Cosby Jr. / USA TODAY NETWORK

Thomas Brown can appreciate a franchise mantra of “Keep Pounding,” but the former Georgia running back knows a thing or two about evolved passing games, too.

Brown, not yet three full months into his role as offensive coordinator of the Carolina Panthers, torched his old playbook and plans a custom model fit for No. 1 overall pick Bryce Young to operate this season.

The latest branch trimmed from the Sean McVay coaching tree, Brown, 36, has energy and ideas with an appreciation for head coach Frank Reich’s relatively old-school way of thinking.

A key order of business for Brown is readying Young to compete with Andy Dalton. Brown revealed on Tuesday that Young is already getting work with “the 1s,” or first team, a trend that will continue even if the depth chart doesn’t reveal it.

Brown said he was on board “early” with the Panthers moving up to get Young. He was already familiar with Young’s tape at Alabama, and then met him for dinner in Tuscaloosa. That’s where Brown said the attention to detail and how much Young already loved preparation and self-scouting pushed him way over the top. When Brown asked Young about his week of preparation, he had to stop him when his answer hit a 17th minute.

As for the lingering height concerns and running an offense with a 5-foot-10 quarterback, Brown said, “Never cared about it. Never an issue. In my opinion, for me — I evaluate tape, we’re playing football. If we were in a competition for the tallest, the biggest, the fastest, strongest, an overall combine … maybe so.”

Reich will call the plays to start the season.

Groupthink is a theme with Reich, who has a wealth of familiar experience at his disposal. He plans to give voice to his staff, which includes senior assistant Jim Caldwell, running backs coach Duce Staley, quarterbacks coach Josh McCown and passing game coordinator Parks Frazier.

If the Panthers’ offense takes off, Brown might not be long for Charlotte. He interviewed to be offensive coordinator of the Cowboys in February, and last year was interviewed by the Miami Dolphins to be head coach. He also interviewed with Kevin O’Connell to be Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator in 2022.

Reich said the playbook would largely be installed by this time next week. As for where Young stands, the coach rated his competency and knowledge of the offense as “complete command.”

–Field Level Media

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