CHARLOTTE — Owner David Tepper acknowledged Tuesday that the Panthers might have made a choice too quickly and without talking to enough people last time, but the changes since the last head coaching search in 2020 made him feel even more strongly about new coach Frank Reich.
Tepper stressed the "process" that led to the team hiring Reich last week, saying it was far more thorough than when they hired Matt Rhule on Jan. 7, 2020.
"In our process, he was the one who stood out the clearest of being willing and able to vet all the different choices to get the very best coaches we could have to help this team be as successful as we can be," Tepper said of Reich.
The Panthers interviewed nine coaches for the job since the end of the regular season, and general manager Scott Fitterer said that Reich's detailed level of staffing ideas helped separate him from the pack.
Fitterer said during Reich's first interview, he went through multiple candidates for each coaching staff position. But when they interviewed him the second time last week, it went even more into the organizational structure.
Reich didn't specify any of his coaching decisions yet, as he's still going through the process of interviewing candidates. It's fair to expect some some degree of carryover from last year's staff, but Reich said he wanted to consult with the coordinators he hires before finalizing many of those.
But the level of detail he went into during the interview impressed the Panthers' decision-makers.
Tepper also mentioned the league generally tilting toward offense in recent years and considered that during the process.
"I think every year we get in these NFL meetings, and every year they put in some new rule to benefit the offense," Tepper said. "Every single year. And it's never going to end."
But Fitterer said Reich's experience and the sense of chemistry he developed in his interviews superseded which side of the ball he worked on. Reich mentioned that Fitterer would control the 53-man roster, but Fitterer said that was an "overrated" distinction since they'll be working together on every decision.
"Ultimately, it really came down to we're looking for the right leader, the right culture builder, the right competitor, the right guy for the team," Fitterer said.