The Carolina Panthers coaching staff and front office is flush with NFL experience and Super Bowl rings

By Zach Goins

March 30, 2023

Over the last two months, Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper has overhauled his team’s coaching staff. After firing head coach Matt Rhule five weeks into the 2022 season, Carolina fell under the command of interim head coach Steve Wilks for the final 12 games. A 6-6 finish was an impressive feat, but not impressive enough to earn Wilks the full-time job.

Enter Frank Reich. On January 26, the Panthers agreed to terms with the former Indianapolis Colts head coach, making him the sixth in franchise history. Reich has strong ties to the Panthers, namely as the first quarterback in the team’s history way back in 1995. Reich took the first snaps in the inaugural season, and even threw the first touchdown pass in franchise history– an 8-yard pass to tight end Pete Metzelaars. His connection to the Carolinas runs deeper than just his time in the Panthers organization. Charlotte has been home base for Reich and his family throughout his playing and coaching career in the NFL.

Reich brings NFL head coaching experience to Carolina– already a plus over his predecessor– having led the Colts from 2018 to 2022. In that time, Indianapolis made two playoff appearances and recorded two seasons with double-digit wins. Reich’s coaching background is on the offensive side, rising through the ranks coaching quarterbacks and wide receivers, before winning a Super Bowl as the Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator in 2017. 



With the first overall pick in April’s NFL Draft in his pocket, Reich will have his choice of quarterback to jumpstart his new offense. But before any of that can happen, Reich’s coaching staff will have to prove itself.

If big-name hires and veteran coaching experience counts for anything, this new Panthers staff is well on its way. All told, the new coaching staff boasts three former NFL head coaches, over 200 combined years of NFL coaching experience, and most importantly, 10 Super Bowl rings.

Offense

Leading the way on offense is Thomas Brown, the team’s new offensive coordinator. Brown spent the last three seasons with the Los Angeles Rams, most recently as assistant head coach and tight ends coach in 2022. The year prior, Brown was responsible for the Rams’ running backs during a season that saw Los Angeles rank seventh in the league in points scored (27.1 ppg) and ninth in total yards (372.1 ypg) on the way to a Super Bowl victory.

Alongside Brown will be passing game coordinator Parks Frazier, who spent five years in Indianapolis with Reich. Frazier closed out last season calling the Colts offense following Reich’s departure. Frazier will work closely with quarterbacks coach Josh McCown– another former Panthers quarterback. The 18-year NFL veteran McCown will make his professional coaching debut after dabbling in the local high school ranks, having coached at Marvin Ridge and Myers Park high schools in the Charlotte area.

Wide receivers will be in good hands under Shawn Jefferson, a 13-year NFL player with 16 years of NFL coaching experience. Jefferson has helped develop top wide receiver duos like DeAndre Hopkins and Christian Kirk (Arizona) and Robbie Anderson and Jamison Crowder (New York Jets), as well as solo stars like Jarvis Landry (Miami). On the ground, Duce Staley will serve as assistant head coach and running backs coach. Staley previously held the same role with the Detroit Lions, leading their offense to a record year, ranking fourth in total offense and fifth in points scored.



Joining the staff as a senior assistant is former Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell, an 18-year NFL coaching veteran with two Super Bowl titles on his resume. It’s clear that following Rhule’s lack of NFL coaching experience, the organization pulled out all the stops to make sure the new staff is well equipped with veteran coaches. 

Offensive line coach James Campen marks one of the few holdovers from the Panthers 2022 staff, while new additions Robert Kugler will assist the offensive line and John Lilly will coach tight ends. 

Defense

Defensively, the Panthers landed Ejiro Evero as the team’s defensive coordinator, after Evero was a hot commodity on the coaching market– even interviewing for the head coaching job in Carolina. Evero spent 2022 as the Denver Broncos’ defensive coordinator, building a stout unit that ranked seventh in total defense. Evero will operate using a 3-4 base defense, the scheme he found success with in Denver, but will be multiple enough to adapt as needed.

Evero spent 2017-2021 coaching for the Rams alongside offensive coordinator Thomas Brown, where the two won a Super Bowl together. His connections also tie in with Dom Capers, who is returning to the Panthers as a senior defensive assistant, the same position he held on Evero’s Denver staff last season. 

Evero’s defensive staff also includes defensive line coach Todd Wash (16 years of NFL coaching experience), secondary coach Jonathan Cooley (three years), linebackers coach Peter Hansen (four years), outside linebackers coach Tem Lukabu (five years) and safeties coach Bert Watts (two years). Meanwhile, DeAngelo Hall will make his NFL coaching debut as an assistant defensive backs coach, after terrorizing Panthers wide receivers from 2004-2007 while picking off passes for the Falcons.

On special teams, Chris Tabor returns as coordinator following an impressive turnaround last season that saw the Panthers improve from 28th in the league in special teams ranking to fourth

Front Office

The Panthers aren’t just changing things up on the sidelines– the team hired a new vice president of player personnel. Adrian Wilson joins the Panthers after spending two decades with the Arizona Cardinals as a player and executive, most recently serving as vice president of pro personnel. 

Wilson, a five-time Pro Bowl safety, played college ball at N.C. State and grew up in High Point, so his return to Carolina marks a homecoming of sorts. In his new role, Wilson will work closely with general manager Scott Fitterer crafting the team’s roster and handling contract negotiations, extensions, and scouting.




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