How Panthers can begin competing for championships under new coach Frank Reich

Ellis Williams, The Charlotte Observer on

Published in Football

During his introductory press conference on Tuesday, Panthers head coach Frank Reich mentioned something all Carolina fans hope is true.

“Every year, we see it. We see teams go from big-time losing to big-time winning, even competing for championships all in the space of one year. It’s possible. But how does that happen?” Reich said. “How do you turn things around? The reason we see these things happen is because of what we all already instinctively know is the difference between winning and losing. It’s in the margins. ... It’s one player at a time. It’s one play at a time. It’s one detail at a time.”

So, just how can Carolina start competing for championships?

“It’s about focusing on getting it right,” Reich said. “It’s not a one-man show. You will see that as a coach and as a coaching staff, we will collaborate with ownership. With Scott Fitterer, the (general manager), with Kristi Coleman, the president, the whole crew. We will collaborate together to create a championship-caliber organization.”

Let’s examine how the 2023 championship-game teams were forged and what lessons the Panthers can learn from them as Reich and Carolina executives begin creating their vision of a championship-caliber organization.

Find a big and mobile quarterback


Size plus escapability matter more than ever at quarterback.

Arm talent aside, Philadelphia quarterback Jalen Hurts is as stocky a quarterback as there is. Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes has repeatedly proven that his escapability and off-script playmaking are his most valuable traits. Cincinnati’s 6-foot-4 Joe Burrow is used to being one of the most hit and sacked quarterbacks yet still makes plays.

San Francisco rookie quarterback Brock Purdy is listed at 6-foot-1 and weighs 210 pounds. But his stature could not hold up against the Eagles’ defensive line. Edge rusher Haason Reddick injured Purdy’s throwing elbow just six minutes into the NFC Championship. Then backup Josh Johnson (6-foot-2, 200 pounds) was knocked out of the game with a concussion just 23 plays later.

Championship weekend highlighted why size plus escapability is necessary for NFL quarterbacks. No matter how good an offensive line is, quarterbacks are going to take dangerous in-pocket hits. Smaller quarterbacks are more susceptible to injury. Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa sustained multiple concussions this season throwing from the pocket and missed five games including the Dolphins’ lone playoff contest, as an example.


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