Head coach interview revelations should enrage Carolina Panthers fans

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

David Tepper
David Tepper / Grant Halverson/GettyImages

Will David Tepper's potential decision to keep familiar faces in the front office hinder the Carolina Panthers' chances of success?

David Tepper seemed to be going about things differently this offseason. The beleaguered Carolina Panthers owner hired a consultancy firm to assist with the process of getting a new head coach and general manager into the building. Hopes increased that this was a sign he'd seen the previous error of his ways and was demonstrating a willingness to alter his approach.

Or so we thought.

There is growing momentum behind Dan Morgan becoming Panthers general manager, succeeding his good friend and close associate Scott Ftterer. The former linebacker's been with the team for three years and had his hand in the pathetic roster construction at the very least. But once again, Tepper looks intent on keeping some individuals he's familiar with on the books rather than going for a complete reset.

This notion gained further weight thanks to a recent report from Joe Person of The Athletic, who is more connected to the developments within the organization than most. He revealed via sources that Morgan and two other front office figures have been part of the head coaching interview process. Something that could lead to a potential pairing between the current interim and an outside hire specializing in analytics.

"The 45-year-old [Dan] Morgan and two other members of the personnel department have been a part of the Panthers’ head coach interviews, league sources told The Athletic. The fact owner David Tepper has included Morgan in the process — along with vice president of player personnel Adrian Wilson and director of player personnel Cole Spencer — would seem to suggest Tepper is considering keeping at least some members of the front office during the transition. Some in league circles believe Tepper could be looking to pair Morgan with an executive with a salary cap and contracts background such as [Alec] Halaby or Kansas City Chiefs vice president of football operations Brandt Tilis, who interviewed with the Panthers this year and in 2021 before Fitterer was hired."

Joe Person, The Athletic

To say this was met with skepticism among the fanbase would be an understatement. After all, they've seen this movie countless times since Tepper bought the franchise from Jerry Richardson.

There's no way Morgan didn't have an influential say in personnel choices. Fitterer trusted his opinion completely. They worked closely together during their time with the Seattle Seahawks before reuniting in Carolina. He is more than complicit in the team's woeful decision-making that brought just two wins in 2023.

This isn't even about Morgan, Adrian Wilson, or Cole Spencer in all honesty. This is about Tepper's desire for control. To surround himself with those who've already enabled his behavior previously. It happened with Marty Hurney. It happened with Matt Rhule. It's seemingly happening again with the aforementioned trio.

As the old saying goes, the definition of insanity as doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results. There's a chance Morgan will succeed. But this offseason represented a chance for Tepper to clean house and reset. While that might still be the case, all signs point to an internal promotion with others staying on.

For context, let's look at how the Washington Commanders approached the offseason. They had their brain trust led by Josh Harris, Bob Myers, and Rick Spielman. They already had a general manager in place before examining other candidates. Hurney and Martin Mayhew were nowhere near the interview process despite the latter's previous connection to Adam Peters.

The ownership is leaving everything up to Peters in terms of who stays and goes. He'll also recommend the head coach he believes can fit into a newfound aligned vision. All this just feels like natural growth for a franchise on its knees whereas Tepper seems to be focusing his attention on maintaining the status quo despite almost nothing to cheer of late.

It's a fast-moving situation and anything is possible where Tepper is concerned. But I find it hard to believe the consultancy firm looked at the state of affairs, the current staff involved in Carolina's demise, and concluded the best route forward was giving chances to those who were part of this mess in the first place.

If that's the case, it's madness. However, we all know who's calling the shots here.

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