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Thomas Brown "thankful" to call plays, learn with Frank Reich 

Thomas Brown

CHARLOTTE – Thomas Brown expressed gratitude in his first press conference since becoming the Panthers' play-caller, after head coach Frank Reich gave his offensive coordinator the duties Monday.

Brown felt grateful for the opportunity to lead the offense, but he has also been grateful from the beginning – that Reich took a chance hiring a coordinator he didn't know previously as someone he could learn to collaborate with.

"I'm super appreciative of Frank for giving me this opportunity," Brown said. "Not just talking about the play-calling opportunity, but just from the very beginning. Because it's normal in this profession to stick to who you know, guys you've worked with before, and we had no prior background together.

"So from the very beginning, he's always been open and honest about his approach. Most of the time, these jobs are filled before the interview process even starts. So giving me a chance to go through that, kind of express my ideas about the offense, what I'm going to bring to the table, and obviously continue to grow and learn from him, has been a great deal for me."

Brown, 37, will call an NFL offense after a rapid career ascension that has included spending three seasons in Los Angeles under Sean McVay's tutelage. He coached running backs and tight ends while with the Rams, and brings a unique perspective to offensive meeting rooms filled with former quarterbacks (including Reich and quarterbacks coach Josh McCown) as a former running back.

Brown said calling plays had been discussed since the beginning of his interview process here, and that he had received more opportunities in practice as the staff built up to the eventual hand-off to him.

He didn't know when it would come, but he knew it could come at any moment.

"I think when it comes to the overall weight of play-calling standpoint, just being able to kind of be in a passing (of) the guard," Brown said. "And I think most times, people rarely give up opportunity to call plays ... So I think it says a lot about him from a character standpoint about him sticking to his word and kind of being true to who he is."

And Brown said he's been able to learn through this whole process thanks to his relationship with Reich. He said he expects to continue to develop under Reich, complimenting the head coach as a "great developer of coaches."

Brown has been paired with rookie quarterback Bryce Young since the Panthers drafted him first overall in April, and Reich pointed out Monday that having two young, offensive minds grow and develop together is a net positive for the offense.

Brown mentioned how he'd had Young at the top of his own quarterback board when he first interviewed for the Panthers' offensive coordinator job before the draft.

"I told Bryce just yesterday, when we had a sit down meeting with us one on one, just talked about moving forward, my expectations and what he can kind of expect from me in this kind of new role as a play caller," Brown said. "But I mentioned him as being the number one guy on the board then, just thinking about from the standpoint of what I saw from him on tape.

"And just continued to grow from there. Once you had an opportunity to get on the road and meet with him and interview him, obviously watching him from a pro day standpoint. But my role from a standpoint of being a coordinator is to elevate all our players, to put them in the best spot to be successful. Obviously (that) includes Bryce as well."

Though things will change to a degree with the offensive operation, Brown said he will not be moving upstairs to the booth as he transitions to the play-caller role.

He'll stay right along the sidelines, as he has been all season, because of his natural energy and because of the interactions he gets to have with the players.

"I love the in-between drives interaction with the players," Brown said. "It kind of just fits me better. ...

"There's obviously immediate feedback when it comes to what they're seeing on the field. But also, I can just read body language ... I think face-to-face communication is always better than having to call someone on the phone. So I choose that option."

View all the action from the Panthers' game in Week 6 against the Miami Dolphins.

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