The Carolina Panthers were the first team to fill their head coaching vacancy this offseason.
With their last head coach being the first one fired during the 2022 season, it gave them plenty of time to consider what they wanted in their next coach.
In the end, their decision came down to Steven Wilks, who had served as the team’s interim head coach after Matt Rhule’s firing, and Frank Reich. The team went with Reich.
According to Pro Football Network’s, Adam Beasley, that’s a decision that the Panthers’ locker room doesn’t agree with.
NFL News and Rumors: It’s a Two-Front War for New Carolina Panthers Coach Frank Reich https://t.co/gGeDf8FXWZ via @PFN365
— Adam Beasley (@AdamHBeasley) February 2, 2023
There’s an issue even more fundamental that should be his first order of business: Winning over a skeptical locker room. Put simply, there are players who privately think that David Tepper hired the wrong candidate. There’s a faction within the building that was rooting for interim coach Steve Wilks to get the job, and they were disappointed he did not.
There was a case to be made for either of the last 2 candidates in the Carolina Panthers’ head coaching search.
Despite a disappointing end to his tenure with the Indianapolis Colts, Frank Reich had a pretty successful first 4 seasons as their head coach. He led the Colts to the playoffs in 2 of his first 3 seasons.
In his 4th year, he won 9 games with Carson Wentz as his starting quarterback, which looks more impressive after Wentz’s 2022 season.
Steve Wilks had a rough first stint as a head coach. He went 3-13 with the Arizona Cardinals, but it was a Cardinals team that started Josh Rosen for 13 weeks, so it’s hard to fault Wilks for that record.
He was much more successful as the interim head coach for the Panthers. The team went 6-6 with him in charge after a 1-4 start to the season.
With both coaches being strong candidates, it is a bit surprising to see that the Carolina panthers didn’t choose the coach that seemingly had the support of the locker room.