Carolina Panthers send clear message to Lions OC Ben Johnson by firing Frank Reich
The recent dismissal of head coach Frank Reich by the Carolina Panthers after a disappointing 1-10 start to the season sends a resounding message across the NFL, particularly to Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson. Johnson, who was once in the running for the Panthers' head coaching position, might now be reassessing the desirability of such a role given the Panthers' current state.
Johnson's Near Miss with Panthers' Head Coach Role
Following the 2022 season, the Carolina Panthers were on the hunt for a new head coach, and Ben Johnson, the Lions' offensive coordinator, emerged as a strong candidate. In January 2023, reports suggested that Johnson was the frontrunner for the job. However, in a surprising turn of events, Johnson declined a second interview and opted to stay with the Lions for the 2023 season. His withdrawal led the Panthers to hire Frank Reich, a choice that has now seemingly backfired with Reich's early termination.
Panthers' Premature Decision Raises Eyebrows
The Panthers' decision to fire Reich after just 11 games into his first season has raised questions about the team's leadership and stability. This rapid dismissal could be perceived as a red flag by potential coaching candidates, including Ben Johnson, who may now view the Panthers' head coach position as precarious and unstable. The message seems clear: the Panthers' ownership and management might not provide the necessary patience or support for a head coach to develop and succeed.
Why Johnson and Others May Steer Clear
For Ben Johnson, or any other top coaching prospect, the current situation in Carolina might appear unattractive. The team's limited draft capital, questionable management, and the lack of a reliable quarterback are significant deterrents. Johnson, who is anticipated to be a highly sought-after head coach candidate following the 2023 season, would likely prefer a more stable and supportive environment. The recent events with the Panthers only reinforce the notion that their head coach role may not be the most appealing option for ambitious coaches.
TL;DR (too long didn't read)
- Ben Johnson's Wise Decision to Stay with Lions: Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson's choice to remain with his team, despite being a favorite for the Carolina Panthers' head coaching position, appears prudent in light of the Panthers' recent firing of Frank Reich after only 11 games.
- Panthers' Questionable Stability: The Panthers' hasty decision to dismiss Reich, coupled with broader organizational issues like limited draft capital and questionable leadership, signals a lack of stability and support that could deter top coaching candidates like Johnson.
- Johnson's Future Prospects: Given his anticipated status as a highly sought-after head coach candidate post-2023 season, Johnson is likely to have better options than the Panthers, suggesting his future lies with a more stable and supportive NFL organization.
The Bottom Line: Avoid the Panthers
While Ben Johnson is poised for a head-coaching role in the near future, the turmoil in Carolina, exemplified by the premature firing of Frank Reich, serves as a cautionary tale. For someone of Johnson's caliber, who will likely have multiple options, joining an organization like the Panthers, which currently exhibits signs of instability and impatience, might not be the wisest career move. As Johnson looks ahead to his future prospects, the decision to steer clear of such precarious situations could be crucial for his long-term success as a head coach in the NFL.