Frank Reich's omission about practicing silent counts heading into a home game is another damning indictment of the Carolina Panthers and their current state.
There is not a lot to cheer about where the Carolina Panthers are concerned in 2023. This has been the case more often than not for the best part of a decade after failing to build on their sensational run to the Super Bowl in 2015.
One could point the finger at many factors. Poor coaching, suspect player personnel moves, and an owner in David Tepper who seems out of his depth are the three issues that immediately come to mind - misery that looks set to continue this weekend when the Dallas Cowboys come to town.
Morale among the fanbase is at an all-time low. They've been voting with their feet for some time now, selling their season tickets game by game in protest of the way things are currently unfolding within the organization since Tepper took charge.
Carolina Panthers could use silent counts - at home
Many anticipate a mini-invasion of Cowboys fans at Bank of America Stadium this weekend. To counteract this potential complication, head coach Frank Reich stated via CBS Sports that the team has been practicing silent counts in case things get especially difficult.
"I think everyone knows how well Dallas travels. We have a great city that other teams' fans like to come to. We're prepared, we practiced silent count this week if we have to use it. We're prepared either way."- Frank Reich via CBS Sports
This brutal honesty came with the usual derision from large sections of Carolina's long-suffering support. While there's nothing wrong with preparing for every eventuality, it's probably something the under-fire head coach should have kept to himself.
Visiting fans packing the stands in Charlotte is nothing new. This is an expansion franchise and many from the Carolinas hitched their wagon to other teams before Jerry Richardson brought an NFL organization to the area, but the fact Reich's team is struggling so badly right now only places this further under the microscope.
Again, this has an eerily similar feel to when The Bank represented a sea of red versus the San Francisco 49ers during the 2022 campaign. This turned out to be Matt Rhule's final game at the helm.
Whether Reich suffers a similar fate if the same result occurs remains to be seen. Using silent counts at home isn't exactly normal around the league, but it represents a microcosm of the complete lack of belief and severe disillusionment residing within the fanbase since Tepper began his reign of terror.
Of course, it's unlikely Tepper cares which fans are occupying the seats, just so long as they are filled and fans are spending their hard-earned cash. For a man being constantly embarrassed on the football side of things and with no winning season to speak of since becoming an NFL owner, that's the saddest thing of all.
Silent counts or not, the Panthers are up against it this weekend versus the Cowboys. Even if they don't manage to pull off a significant upset against a potential Super Bowl challenger, showing growth in problem areas and more importantly, displaying resolve in keeping with the team's Keep Pounding mantra is of critical importance.
Reich resuming play-calling duties was one last attempt to save his job, one suspects. His omission that silent counts might have to be implemented was just the latest in a long line of embarrassments associated with the Panthers in 2023.