Panthers Notebook: OC Thomas Brown Talks Offense, Seeks Bigger Plays Versus Lions To Shake Winless NFL Start

bryce young walks off bofa field after vikings loss (1)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — At 0-4 and facing one of the NFL’s hottest franchises on the road, the punchless Carolina Panthers are in trouble.

Or are they?

In each defeat, the Panthers held an advantage, becoming the first team since 2013 to hold a lead, but ended up losing its opening four outings.

Rookie quarterback Bryce Young continues struggling with generating consistent drives and overcoming mistakes like his third-quarter fumble in last Sunday’s 21-13 loss to the host the Seahawks. The turnover resulted in what proved to be the game-winning touchdown.

During his weekly press conference Thursday, offensive coordinator Thomas Brown detailed different aspects the offense is working on to pull off an upset Sunday at the North Division-leading Detroit Lions (3-1).

Panthers Offensive Coordinator Thomas Brown Seeks Identity

Averaging just 16.8 points and 282.5 yards per game, the Panthers’ offensive unit ranks 24th and 25th, respectively, in the 32-team NFL.

To compete with the high-powered Lions, Brown talked about the Panthers finding a collective identity and cutting down on lapses.

“I still think it all boils down to being physical at every single position. We’ve been that way at times, but it hasn’t always been consistent,” Brown said. “It still boils down to finding and creating winning matchups. We’ve won some matchups. We’ve had some explosive plays here and there, but it hasn’t been consistent.

“And it also boils down to the stuff that takes no talent. Way too many mental errors. Way too many penalties.

“That’s who we say we want to be. We’ve got to prove that.”

Wide Receiver Room Getting Healthy, More Experience

With 14 receptions over the past two games, third-year wide receiver Terrace Marshall Jr. is earning a bigger role by developing his overall skillset.

“He’s done a really good job stepping in when he had an opportunity,” Brown said. “He’s done a really good job when it comes to … when the ball is not in his hands.

“We ask our receivers to do a whole lot when it comes to being involved in the blocking” for running and passing plays.

With rookie Jonathan Mingo, who missed the Seahawks game under concussion protocol, expected to return against the Lions, Marshall’s snap count could take a hit.

Panthers OL Seeks Consistency From Ikem Ekwonu, Chandler Zavala

During Young’s three starts, the 2021 Heisman Trophy winner was sacked 11 times, including five in the second half against the Seahawks.

The Panthers’ ground game remains stalled. The Seahawks’ defense, swarming the nearly predictable first-down rush attempts, limited the Panthers to just 83 yards on 31 carries.

Social media blame cascaded down to the offensive line, pinpointing the left side, rookie guard Chandler Zavala and tackle Ikem Ekwonu.

Brown deflected some of the criticism, suggesting the line’s sluggish performance does not “highlight those two guys. Again, we had many issues across the board with all eleven positions.

“So, I think it’s overall the improvement of how we coach each individual guy, how we handle it from a coaching staff standpoint and try to find ways to get what we’re seeking out when it comes to the overall execution.”

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