3 major storylines following the Carolina Panthers into Week 5 at Lions

These are the major storylines following the team into the difficult road test.

Terrace Marshall Jr.
Terrace Marshall Jr. / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
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Pressure mounting on influential Carolina Panthers duo?

I’ve been consistent about practicing patience with this team and first-year coaching staff, and I still believe that’s the right approach - for me, at least. However, I do feel that the conversation has become fairer to start having, regarding the possibility that head coach Frank Reich and general manager Scott Fitterer could each be on the hot seat.

For Fitterer, there are more tangible pieces of evidence to use when having that conversation. He is now in his third season with the Carolina Panthers. His fingerprints are all over the composition of the roster, and now also on the entire coaching staff after retooling this offseason. Not much wiggle room or excuses left for him.

If the players that Fitterer has brought in don’t start to produce and make an impact on this team in a serious fashion, he’ll be facing another possibility of manipulating the remaining draft capital and current roster into solutions. That prospect doesn’t inspire confidence, personally, but without it - the writing may already be on the wall.

For Reich, on the other hand, the heat feels like it’s coming from a couple of different lanes. The PTSD from the previous head coach and his “you can’t see it but it’s happening” shtick, is rearing its ugly head again. Perhaps it’s unfair to harken the feeling right now back to that of a college coach, but it’s undeniable that there are similarities in results and explanations.

When you listen to offensive coordinator Thomas Brown address the media in his press conferences - there’s a difference in delivery that seems to be resonating in a more positive manner than the tame tone from Reich. There is directness without being brash, he’s confident without being egotistical, and he comes across as being a player’s coach without being a ‘yes’ man.

At a minimum, the focus will be on the play-calling and the pre-snap operations of the offense. This team cannot withstand another game littered with poor communication, predictable sequencing, and non-existent discipline.

Reich mentioned that “tweaks” have been made to the silent cadences and other pre-snap details. But seeing is believing.

Should that pop up once again, Reich absolutely needs to hand over the play-calling responsibilities to Brown and start pouring into the big-picture part of the job description. At that point, if this team turns a corner, it may even be more evident what the initial hindrance to success was.