Report: Panthers offensive coordinator to interview with Bears
Bob Donnan - USA Today Sports

Report: Panthers offensive coordinator to interview with Bears

by - Senior Writer -

As expected, the Bears are continuing to interview candidates for their vacant OC position, as their next hire will be arguably the most crucial hire this team has made in years. Whoever Ryan Poles and Matt Eberflus see as the best fit will not only be responsible for fixing this offense, but will also be tasked with figuring out how to reach Justin Fields potential or having the opportunity to work with Caleb Williams.

After hearing the name of several promising offensive minds already interviewing or planning to interview, hearing that Thomas Brown interviewed for the position on Wednesday is a bit of a surprise, especially when you look at his season. For those unfamiliar with Brown, he was the offensive coordinator for the Carolina Panthers this season and was one of the first hires that Frank Reich made.

You saw how that worked this season as Reich was fired midway through the season en route to the Panthers, finishing with the worst record in the league and handing the Bears the No. 1 overall pick in the process. Brown also had the privilege of working with Bryce Young, who was last year's No. 1 pick, but his rookie season, to say the least, was a bust.

Typically, when you have a coordinator coming off the season the Panthers had, they wouldn't garner much interest. Still, with the Tennessee Titans also interviewing him for a head coach opening, he must be a widely respected individual. The 37-year-old Brown was a former University of Georgia player before getting drafted in the sixth round of the 2008 by the Atlanta Falcons.

After spending his rookie season on the Falcons practice squad, Brown took his talents to the Cleveland Browns before retiring just three years after being drafted. Although his playing days ended much sooner than he would've liked, his coaching days were just beginning as he latched on to the Georgia staff in 2011 as a strength and conditioning coach.

Following his brief stint at Georgia, Brown bounced between Chattanooga, Marshall, Wisconsin, Georgia, Miami (FL), and South Carolina, where he served as the RB coach each season. Apart from his three-year stint with the Gamecocks, all of his stops were one-year stays as he paid his dues.

It wasn't until 2020 that he got his crack at the NFL and joined Sean McVay's staff in Los Angeles as the team's RB coach. One season later, he received an excellent promotion as he took on the assistant head coach role alone, running the RB room. To make that kind of a jump after one season is impressive, and Brown was suddenly on the fast track to become a coordinator in this league.

The 2022 was his final season in Los Angeles, where he remained the team's assistant head coach while taking on a new role as the TE coach. That led to his biggest promotion this season, where he joined the Carolina staff to become the team's offensive coordinator. Brown endured a rough first season as a play-caller, but when you look at the talent he had to work with, can you blame him?

As an offense, the Panthers ranked dead last in yards per game as they were held to under 270 yards per contest. That included a league-worst 161 yards passing as Young was miserable during his rookie season. Although they were not a great rushing team, Chubba Hubbard and Miles Sanders at least were more consistent than Young as they combined for 13 rushing TDS on just under 110 yards per game. That saw them land 20th in the league.

Considering your stats and knowing what the Bears just went through with Luke Getsy, there are some questions about why the Bears wanted to interview him in the first place. One idea could be the other coaching roles he has held on the offensive side of the ball, especially the RB room. Chicago has wanted to be a run-first team, and adding Brown to their staff will keep that trend going.

He also played RB in the NFL and has coached them individually, so he may relate to the players better. Either way, this is an interesting interview for the Bears, but other teams have also gotten in on Brown, as he must have something to offer.

Comment on this story
Send Feedback to Dustin Riese: Email | Comment
Post your comments!