Frank Reich has found his new offensive coordinator.
The Carolina Panthers are expected to hire former Los Angeles Rams assistant head coach/tight ends coach Thomas Brown to take on the role, according to a source with direct knowledge of the situation. Brown has worked under Rams head coach Sean McVay for the past three seasons. He was on the staff that beat the Bengals 23-20 in Super Bowl LVI.
Brown had his second interview with the Panthers on Thursday. Both sides are expected to finalize a deal over the weekend.
Brown coordinated in college, was a standout at Georgia and played in the NFL. Brown, 36, also interviewed for the Houston Texans’ head coaching job in January. Brown, a former running back at Georgia, coached the Rams’ running backs in 2020 before being promoted to his current role the following season.
Brown is considered a rising star in coaching circles. During the Rams’ 2021 Super Bowl run, Brown interviewed for an NFL head coaching job and an offensive coordinator vacancy. Brown has interviewed for five different offensive coordinator jobs this offseason.
While Thomas will receive a promotion in title in Carolina, it remains unclear if he will call plays under Reich. As The Observer has reported since his arrival last month, Reich is open to letting someone else call plays for the offense. Reich confirmed that openness in his introductory press conference.
However, Thomas has never called plays at the NFL level. Whoever calls plays will likely share a collaborative process with Reich, senior assistant Jim Caldwell and quarterbacks coach Josh McCown. Reich also hired former Eagles and Lions coach Duce Staley to coach running backs.
Brown has spent the past three years climbing the ranks of McVay’s staff. He joined the Rams to coach running backs in 2020. The team finished 10th in rushing that season, averaging 126.1 yards per game. The following season he became assistant to the head coach. Last season as tight end coach he helped coordinate the Rams’ passing game.
Prior to joining McVay’s staff in 2020, Brown spent nine seasons coaching college football at Georgia, Wisconsin and Miami. He was the Hurricanes’ offensive coordinator from 2016-18, where he gained valuable experience as a play-caller. Brown is considered an active and dynamic coach who relies on communication and honesty. He spent his time with the Rams being transparent to everyone he coached or coached with.
In Brown, the Panthers are getting a young up-and-coming assistant coach who can be mentored by Reich. Caldwell is also a longtime mentor of Brown.
With the hire, Reich’s staff is nearly complete. The team also hired defensive line coach Todd Wash on Thursday.