6 dark horse candidates to become Carolina Panthers head coach in 2024

Don't dismiss these names as potential replacements for head coach Frank Reich.
Brian Johnson
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Carolina Panthers could hire Mike Macdonald

  • Defensive Coordinator | Baltimore Ravens

When the Carolina Panthers hired the first offensive-minded head coach in franchise history, many thought it was a sign of moving with the times. As it turned out, it became another unmitigated disaster that eventually led to Frank Reich's firing after just 11 games.

What an embarrassment.

David Tepper needs to explore all options - offensively or defensively - to finally get the Panthers out of squalor and into contention. Mike Macdonald is a name that's going relatively under the radar, but he's got solid credentials and is a coach on the up - something that could lead to interview requests when the time comes.

Macdonald is coming in for praise for his fine work as Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator this season. He's got the unit humming, among the league's best, and is nurturing players to their expected levels such as stud safety Kyle Hamilton.

There is an inexperience factor to consider. However, Macdonald now stems from the Jim and John Harbaugh tree having left Michigan to become Baltimore's defensive coordinator in 2022. A pedigree like that never gets overlooked.

It'll be interesting to see how Tepper approaches this. He might swing for the fences in an attempt to finally lure Ben Johnson from the Detroit Lions. If that ambitious coup fails, anything and everyone comes into play.