Panthers Notebook: Reinstated Play-Caller Thomas Brown Riding High Road Regarding Axed Frank Reich, Awaiting Reinforcements For Tampa Bay Buccaneers

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Carolina Panthers

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator Thomas Brown is here because of fired coach Frank Reich.

During his weekly press conference Thursday, Brown declined to muddy the path – in or out the door.

“Very fortunate for the opportunity that he gave me—provided for me to first be in this role,” Brown said in the media room at Bank of America Stadium. “Have an opportunity to kinda work alongside him and kinda grow from that standpoint. I try to be reflective of everyone I’m around when it comes to what I learn, how much I absorb.”

That includes how much Reich awarded him. And how much he stole away.

All through the offensively ugly 1-10 start, Brown remained on the high road.

Panthers’ Pathetic Offense Torpedoing Season

Through 11 games the Panthers have produced 14 offensive touchdowns, including just three rushing scores. Only twice this season, during losses to the Detroit Lions and Miami Dolphins, the Panthers scored three TDs on offense.

How is that possible in the modern era?

It starts with rookie quarterback Bryce Young attempting to find his way under constant pressure because of an under-performing, injury-riddled offensive line.

Young has been sacked 40 times in 10 starts.

Entering the bye week, the Panthers were 0-6 and Reich, in his first season with the franchise, elected to “promote” Brown by awarding him play-calling responsibilities.

The promotion lasted three games, however. After scoring 13 points in three consecutive outings, including the Panthers’ only win, Reich unceremoniously reclaimed the play-calling role.

The Panthers scored 10 points in the two outings before Reich was fired.

Brown was asked if the callous, midseason maneuvers altered his relationship ship Reich and played a role in the coaching shuffle. He passed.

“I have no idea,” Brown said. “You’ll have to ask somebody else. I’m always focused on my job. When it comes to how much time we spend together as coaches and players, emotions are always going to be involved.

“At the end of the day, it’s not about feelings, it’s about us having a job to do. I’m focused on that job and ready to move forward.”

That starts Sunday at the NFC South-rival Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-7).

Panthers Receive Veteran Reinforcements For Buccaneers

With injuries stockpiling, the Panthers welcomed two key veteran reinforcements and a familiar face that could play a role against the Buccaneers, despite limited practice time.

Guard has been one of the most troubling positions this season. Injuries to veterans Austin Corbett and Brady Christensen and prospects Chandler Zavala and Cade Mays thinned the unit’s depth.

Veteran Gabe Jackson, a 6-foot-3, 335-pounder who has started 130 NFL games, was signed to the practice squad Wednesday.

“He’s a large human to moves people,” Brown said Thursday.

Joining Jackson, guard Deonte Brown, 25, returned to the Panthers’ practice squad after twice being cut this season. He was previously released Nov. 14 and at the end of training camp.

To bolster the defensive back room, the Panthers on Thursday claimed cornerback Shaquill Griffin off waivers from the Houston Texans. The seventh-year defensive back appeared in 10 games (six starts) with the Texans.

With cornerbacks Jaycee Horn (hamstring) and CJ Henderson (concussion) nearing a return, Griffin could provide immediate help Sunday and quality depth for the season’s final six-game stretch.

“Every healthy player we have on the roster will be up for discussion and have an opportunity to play,” Brown said.

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