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Frank Reich knows no matter the details, offense needs to improve

Frank Reich

CHARLOTTE — Before the Panthers broke for a mini-bye over the weekend, Panthers head coach Frank Reich opened the door for some changes on offense.

He didn't necessarily commit to any of them Monday as they gathered to prepare for Dallas, beyond the one unquestionable fact about the first half of the season — they have to get better.

When asked specifically whether Thomas Brown would continue to call plays as he has the last three games, Reich didn't offer many specifics, saying it would always be collaborative.

"I'm really just thinking the whole thing through," Reich said. "First of all, however we've done the play calling, who's ever been doing the play calling, we haven't performed as an offense. So, let me just make that point clear.

"First of all, as I look towards the last half of the season now, what's the best dynamic? And why any decision that's ultimately made is just going to be based on that one pure factor. So that's how we'll approach it."

Reich said they're always talking about potential lineup tweaks in areas they feel like they have depth. He said it wasn't simply based on making a change or rotating certain guys but trying to find players who "you think can play winning football."

The Panthers have not done that lately, and it's primarily because of their struggles on offense.

They gained a season-low 213 yards at Chicago, with Bryce Young throwing for 185 (and 45 of those coming on one first-quarter shot).

They're 29th in the league in points scored (17.0 per game) and 30th in yards per game (275.6), failing to establish a clear identity. In the last three games, against what was considered a more comparable caliber of opponent, they've scored two offensive touchdowns.

Reich said last week he was less worried about the stats than playing "winning football." But he knows they need to improve because the competition is tougher this week.

The Cowboys are second in the league in scoring (29.9), fourth in yards (379.1), and are coming off a 49-point outburst last night against the Giants.

"I would think if you talk to most of the players, they might not admit it, but when you're going up against a hot team, guys know it's an opportunity," Reich said. "Things have not been going well for us as a team. So, it's an opportunity. It's a great opportunity to go up and prove that we're a good football team. You know, we beat one good football team, but we need to beat another good football team. So we'll all get ready to play a good one this week.

"This team (the Cowboys) is hot. They have a lot of firepower on offense. They have some big-time playmakers on defense. You know, they're good in all three phases. They're a well-coached team, and they've got a lot of firepower. So, it's a great challenge for us, and I think our coaching staff and our players are excited for that."

— The Panthers won't put out an injury report until Wednesday, but Reich said the reports on several players were positive.

Outside linebacker Brian Burns and cornerback CJ Henderson remain in the concussion protocol and would have to be cleared by an independent neurologist, but Reich said all signs were positive. He said he also could be getting good news on wide receiver DJ Chark Jr., who missed last week's game after aggravating an elbow injury.

View all the action from the Panthers' game against the Chicago Bears in Week 10 of the regular season.

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