Freedom to express is key to Carolina Panthers growth under Thomas Brown

Hopefully the offensive change can bear fruit immediatey.

Thomas Brown
Thomas Brown / Jared C. Tilton/GettyImages

Adding more freedom to express is the key to any potential offensive growth for the Carolina Panthers under play-caller Thomas Brown.

The Carolina Panthers ticked off their bye week and are now back in the building as preparations gather pace for a must-win home clash against the Houston Texans in Week 8. Speculation continues to mount about what those in power might have planned heading into the trade deadline, but one confirmed alteration during their period of rest comes with significant intrigue attached.

After receiving heavy criticism for bland schematic concepts, head coach Frank Reich handed over the play-calling duties to offensive coordinator Thomas Brown. This was a natural progression according to the figurehead, but it's highly likely this process sped up considerably after Carolina's woeful 0-6 start to open the campaign.

Brown is a fast riser up the coaching ranks and is being touted by many as a future head coach. Turning the Panthers offense around over the next 11 games would only enhance his blossoming credentials, although this might not be the quick fix some fans are anticipating given the playing personnel at Carolina's disposal.

Carolina Panthers offensive planning will remain collaborative

While the Sean McVay coaching tree descendant acknowledged as much recently, Reich has complete faith in the coach based on comments via USA Today Sports. However, the former quarterback was also quick to point out that the planning stage remains collaborative before responsibilities are handed over fully.

"Thomas and I had another good discussion this morning just about the transition and about philosophy and our approach this week, in general. With every day, I feel great about it. Thomas is ready. It’ll be an organic thing. There’s still gonna be a lot of collaboration. Thomas is gonna be in charge. It’s not gonna be micromanaged. The staff will contribute like they do, but Thomas will be—his personality, his decision making will be the play-by-play decisions. What we do as a game-planning process—that will still stay the same as it’s been."

Frank Reich via USA Today Sports

This might fill Carolina's fans with dread considering how disappointing things have been offensively up to now. Bryce Young's encouraging growth and Adam Theilen's outstanding production aside, nobody has met expectations - Reich included.

Brown won't want to fall into the same trap. There are some winnable games coming up for the Panthers - two of which are at home over the next fortnight - so focusing more on creativity and allowing players the freedom to express themselves could be the key to flourishing over the second half of 2022.

One only has to look at how the Minnesota Vikings offense performed versus the San Francisco 49ers to see how the Panthers offense might look. Kevin O'Connell also hails from the Los Angeles Rams and implements similar concepts, which center on establishing the run, scheming people open in motion, and creating mismatches downfield through play-action.

It's not rocket science, it just needs sound planning and supreme execution. The Panthers have been devoid of both through six games, so Brown's primary challenge is to relax his players and take the pressure off to a certain degree in pursuit of improving fortunes.

Any growth is better than nothing at this juncture. The Panthers aren't entirely out of NFC South contention - which is a damning indictment on the division's current state - so who knows what might happen if they get a couple of confidence-boosting wins under their belt after the bye.

That's the glass-half-full mindset. Perhaps something more realistic is salvaging some semblance of respectability, avoiding the embarrassment of giving the No. 1 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft to the Chicago Bears, and the duo of Brown and Young injecting life into an offense lacking inspiration.

Creativity. Freedom to express. Make football fun again. Provide hope amid the disillusion.

If Brown can do that, the Panthers will reap hefty rewards.