A recent report of unhappiness could mean Carolina Panthers general manager Scott Fitterer is living on borrowed time unless things improve.
Large sections of the Carolina Panthers fanbase are demanding something be done after yet another horror show with the entire NFL world watching. The Tyson Bagent-led Chicago Bears did just enough to condemn Frank Reich's men to an eighth loss in nine contests, which is a disgraceful turn of events when one considers the optimism beforehand.
Fingers are being pointed at many in positions of power. Reich could be on the hot seat after just one season if significant improvements aren't made, although Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network stated that his future will be almost entirely dependent on rookie quarterback Bryce Young's development.
David Tepper reportedly unhappy with Carolina Panthers progress
Another who seems to be under fire is Scott Fitterer. The general manager laid out some bold predictions about what Carolina might be capable of before the season, which has blown up in his face and raised severe concerns about his ability to put together a competitive roster.
Again, nobody covering the team closely is placing Fitterer's job in jeopardy. However, Dianna Russini of The Athletic stated that there is a level of frustration coming from team owner David Tepper about the offensive ineptitude and playing personnel at the Panthers' disposal.
"The opinion that [Bryce] Young is the future is still the unified belief based on conversations with multiple team sources. That’s excellent news for Panthers fans — everyone remains in lockstep. However, I am told Panthers owner David Tepper is frustrated by this offense and its lack of improvement. Some in the building believe the roster hasn’t been built correctly, while others criticize the offense overall. This is an offense some league sources have described as “boring,” “predictable” and even “lifeless.” I’m told the message in the building is, “Ownership needs to see more progress on offense. There needs to be development and improvement.” If the second half of the regular season looks like the first half, I expect Carolina to make changes."- Dianna Russini, The Athletic
It doesn't take a genius to figure out that Tepper's trigger finger will be ready to go if Carolina's situation doesn't improve. A complete reset could be the preferred option in this drastic scenario, which would be the more traditional method and allow any new general manager to pick his next head coach personally.
There's almost nothing Fitterer can do to improve his job prospects at this juncture. He's made all the big personnel moves, the trade deadline has long gone, and no veteran remaining on the market is going to look at Carolina as an attractive destination even if they are desperately looking for work.
Fitterer was part of the brain trust that hired Reich, so he'll just have to hope that the figurehead can get this group together in the hope of salvaging some semblance of respectability from the campaign. A notion that appears unlikely given what's unfolded up to now.
Of course, nobody's opinion matters apart from Tepper. His constant stream of questionable moves since buying the Panthers has led to this point and he wasn't happy about having his face on national television in the closing stages of Thursday Night Football - even if the buck does stop with the billionaire owner when push comes to shove.
The beleaguered Fitterer got some extra leeway given Matt Rhule had the final say on personnel. That hasn't been the case for more than a year now and things seem to be getting worse, not better.
If the same trend continues over the next eight games, Fitterer's hopes of seeing out this project would diminish past the point of no return.