Trouble in Charlotte? Panthers Ownership Frustrated By Lack of Improvement

The Carolina Panthers are off today after an embarrassing performance against the Chicago Bears on Thursday night in Chicago. A Sunday without Panthers football is probably a welcomed sight in Charlotte this week.

Panthers fans planned to march at Bank of American Stadium today to show their frustration with the team’s 1-8 start to the season. That march has been cancelled by the group that planned it due to a children’s event taking place at the stadium today. “We’ve learned about a children’s event at Bank of America Stadium on the same day,” PantherNationPC said in a post on X. “After further consultation, we want ensure safety and avoid any liability issues. We will reschedule for another time.”

Despite scrapping today’s planned march, Panthers fans are fed up. But according to The Athletic’s Dianna Russini, there’s no need for a march, because Panthers owner David Tepper is equally frustrated in the team’s performance.

“Panthers owner David Tepper is frustrated by this offense and its lack of improvement,” Russini said in here column at The Athletic this weekend.

According to Russini, the Panthers’ offense has been called boring,” “predictable,” and “lifeless” in her conversations with league sources. There’s no denying that. Carolina ranks 30th in offensive yardage (275.6) per contest and 27th in scoring (17.0) per game. Their offense has been nothing short of disastrous.

Some in Carolina believe that the roster construction is to blame. Some think that the unit has been a disaster regardless of the construction.

Panthers Bryce Young
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

I said in August when I was at Panthers camp that Bryce Young had nothing around him. The first play I watched in team drills was a sack. It was a sign of things to come this season, with Young playing behind a porous offensive line that has allowed him to be sacked 29 times, the fourth most of any quarterback in the league.

It was also evident that Carolina didn’t have the offensive firepower that you would like to surround a rookie quarterback with. Adam Thielen and Miles Sanders were the Panthers’ big-ticket signings this past offseason. Thielen has stuffed the stat sheet with volume numbers but has lost a step and is not a No. 1 wide receiver. Miles Sanders is now getting out-snapped by Chuba Hubbard.

So, yeah, there’s no doubt that Bryce Young needs help. He needs protection, and he needs some weapons. But I’m not particularly eager to give a quarterback a free pass because of a lack of weapons and protection around him. C.J. Stroud is having a historic season with the Texans, who came into the season with Nico Collins as their top pass-catching target, a rookie head coach (with a defensive background), and a rookie offensive coordinator. So, while it’s a disadvantage, it’s not impossible to overcome some of the roster construction deficiencies Carolina is dealing with.

ESPN’s David Newton said in a recent column that the Panthers tried to address one of those deficiencies ahead of the trade deadline in a big way: “[Carolina] went after the Bengals’ Higgins and elite receiver Davante Adams of the Las Vegas Raiders before the trade deadline, according to an NFL front office source with knowledge of discussions, but neither team was willing to deal.”

That would have been nice, but those teams were undoubtedly looking for a first-rounder in a deal for those two start wide receivers, something that Panthers don’t own this season. So, no dice.

The message in the building right now is this: “Ownership needs to see more progress on offense. There needs to be development and improvement.”

David Tepper has spent on offensive minds since purchasing the Panthers five years ago. GM Scott Fitterer was hired due to his offensive success with the Eagles. Frank Reich was hired mainly because of the staff he could put together in Carolina. That staff features OC Thomas Brown — a Sean McVay disciple, QB coach Josh McCown, assistant head coach and RB coach Duce Staley, and senior assistant Jim Caldwell.

Reich has already turned play-calling duties over to OC Thomas Brown. He may be looking for a new job if things stay the same. Tepper has blown through head coaches since purchasing the team and has done the same with his MLS club, Charlotte FC.

There’s been heavy criticism directed at Bryce Young, and indeed — as I pointed out with the Stroud reference — some of the offensive struggles are on him. Still, Young is the QB of the future in Carolina. It’s Frank Reich who may not be around to see it through.

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Patrick grew up in Chicago's Bridgeport and Garfield Ridge neighborhoods before moving to the Western Suburbs of Chicago before eventually relocating to the Las Vegas area with his family in 2023. He started with Bleacher Nation in 2021 and has spent time as a Staff Writer and on the Chicago Blackhawks beat. He is currently a writer and editor at Bleacher Nation covering the Chicago Bears and the NFL at large and the author of the Bleacher Nation Newsletter. Patrick is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA).

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