Duce Staley is reportedly returning home as part of Frank Reich’s coaching staff, but what does the respected figure bring to the Carolina Panthers?
One of the biggest takeaways from Frank Reich‘s first week with the Carolina Panthers was his intent to bring the best coaching staff possible to the franchise. This is still in the process of being finalized, but recent updates are encouraging and something that’s caused great excitement among the fanbase.
First, there were reports that Reich planned to retain offensive line coach James Campen and special teams coordinator Chris Tabor. Both did remarkable work during their first seasons in Carolina and keeping them around is a shrewd piece of business by those in power.
Interviews for coordinator vacancies are ongoing – although Ben McAdoo has yet to be formally removed from the equation. These will be pivotal additions to Reich’s staff, but the head coach made another wise decision with the reported addition of Duce Staley to the staff in 2023.
Duce Staley is a major addition to the Carolina Panthers coaching staff
Staley is no stranger to the Carolinas. He hails from the region and played his college football at South Carolina en route to becoming the No. 71 overall selection during the 1997 NFL Draft.
This is also the reason why Staley is joining the Panthers. Numerous reporters outlined the coach’s desire to be closer to his mother – who is dealing with health issues – which is something the Lions granted despite his sterling work as assistant head coach/running backs coach alongside Dan Campbell.
Reich also boasts experience working with Staley from his time as Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator. This is a huge coup by the Panthers and one that represents a real statement of intent under a different regime.
Staley is responsible for transforming the Lions’ rushing attack into one of the league’s most efficient. His work with the likes of D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams came in for widespread plaudits, with many analysts projecting a move to an offensive coordinator role in the not-too-distant future as a result.
While it’s uncertain what role Staley will occupy in Carolina, becoming a coordinator is possible. Even if the Panthers are also examining other candidates such as Jim Bob Cooter, who is currently passing game coordinator with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Regardless of what position Staley is allocated, the coach’s impact is going to be substantial. His intelligence and football acumen are matched by a ferocious passion that came across in no uncertain terms during Detroit’s appearance on HBO’s Hard Knocks last summer.
Players gravitate towards Staley and are willing to run through brick walls for him. Something that will benefit Chuba Hubbard and D’Onta Foreman significantly providing the latter is brought back before free agency.
Staley knows what Reich wants from his players. This should smooth the transition when OTAs arrive and being an ex-player with three 1,000-yard rushing seasons to his name commands instant respect within the locker room.
The Panthers have a lot of hard work ahead before their coaching staff becomes final. But Reich is off to a good start and the upside of having Staley around cannot be overstated.
Although the personal circumstances are less than ideal, this is a home run hit by the Panthers. One that can hopefully lead to major improvements on offense next season.
Staley is a no-nonsense individual who demands nothing but 100 percent from his players. It could be a rude awakening for some, but there’s no doubt Carolina is going to benefit enormously from his presence.