Skip to main content
Carolina Panthers

Transcript: Frank Reich's Combine Press Conference

RE: On his takeaways from his meeting with Derek Carr

Good meeting with Derek. Really have a lot of respect for him (and) what he's accomplished in his career. The kind of player he is, the kind of person he is. Just see is this the right fit? Is this an answer? Part of that is, yeah, this is a good option. We have to look it through, we're looking at all options. This is a time of year that we do that. We were excited about that meeting, and it was a good meeting. We'll take it day by day.

RE: On David Tepper being in the room with Derek Carr and why it's important that the owner is a part of major quarterback discussions

He's got a unique perspective. Both he and Nicole (Tepper) were in there, obviously, along with Scott (Fitterer), Dan (Morgan) and Samir (Suleiman). That's our leadership team, we're doing this together. As a head coach, you have a certain role in it, and you play that role. It's a collaborative effort to make a big decision on who's going to be our quarterback. I think it was a very good meeting.

RE: On the value of bringing in a veteran quarterback

That's a great question. It's one that we're talking a lot about right now. There's the value of the veteran, and the leadership, and the proven commodity and all that kind of stuff. How does that fit with the team in the locker room? Versus taking a young guy, doing something in the draft and building it from there. Those are all things that need to be discussed. There are intangibles and there are things you can quantify, things that you can't quantify. We work together and talk through those things.

RE: On the quarterback draft class

Looks great. We met with several of them today, a bunch of them today. Very talented, I would say very smart. Just having a chance to talk ball with these guys. Guys who are very accomplished, guys who all seem to process very quickly. It's a good group.

RE: On why Derek Carr would be a good option

Derek is an excellent leader, he's an excellent passer, he's very accomplished. You look at the fit, how does it fit with our team in our locker room? He checks a lot of boxes that you're looking for in a quarterback, there's no question. That's why he is where is at this point in his career. The opportunity is a unique opportunity to talk to someone of that caliber, as a player and as a person. We didn't take that for granted.

RE: On his thoughts of Matt Corral and if he has had any conversations with him

A little bit of communication with all the guys on the roster. Yeah, excited. I'm excited about the guys that are currently on the roster. As a coach coming in, that's really where it starts. You want to dive into your guys first and then look from there. This is this the NFL, right? It's highly competitive. Everybody gets an opportunity, and you got to make the most of it.

RE: On D'Onta Foreman and Chuba Hubbard

Both D'Onta and Chuba obviously, love both of them. That's for me, coming in, step one, let's look at the guys we got on our team. D'Onta finished the year super strong, him and the offensive line. Chuba (Hubbard) is a very talented back, I've had some communication with him as well. You're always looking to continue to build and see where your roster goes.

RE: On what quarterbacks they met with at the combine this far

We met with five of them today. I don't want to go through each of the names. We did meet with five of them, I think five today. I thought all the meetings went very well.

RE: On having the chance to lead the NFC South and if that makes him more willing to get a "Derek Carr" as opposed to drafting a quarterback

I don't think you can make that decision based on the status of the division right now. Whatever decision we make is what is best, not just for this year, but you're looking on the horizon. Obviously if you draft a guy, you're looking on a very long-term horizon. If you go free agent, like we go Derek Carr. The nice thing with Derek is he's going to be 32 years old. That's kind of prime quarterback years. There's still a good five-year window there. Sure, we're like every team, we want to win the division next year. But you really have to look beyond that as well.

RE: On if he thinks they won't draft a quarterback under the circumstances

No, I wouldn't say that. I think all options would be on the table. We're going to do what we think is best for our team. Both in the near term and the long term.

RE: On why a high percentage of quarterbacks don't make it in the NFL

It's tough work, right? We all know that. It's the hardest position in sports to play. You're so dependent. There's so many factors that go into good quarterback play. Tangible and intangible qualities. Some can be measured, some can't. Then sometimes depends on the circumstances that you find yourself in. You don't get as long of windows to prove yourself anymore. That's what makes it great though. That's why you love evaluating and playing the quarterback position because it is the biggest challenge.

RE: On how he evaluates young quarterbacks and what he priorities in his evaluation

That's why this is both an art and a science. I like to say, if there's ten things to evaluate, really the question, and this differs from club to club, person to person even within the club. How much weight do you put on, if there's ten categories. How do you weigh category one? How do you weigh - it's a sliding scale. You have to be careful not to put too much weight on one category. But you have to decide, as an evaluator, what are the heaviest weighted categories? How does that fit with what you want to do schematically and philosophically as an offense. That's a fun part of it. A lot of that is done in a collaborative effort with Scott Fitterer, our GM, Mr. (David) Tepper. Talking through those dynamics. I find that when you collaborate on it, it's like a good checks and balance system to make sure we're all thinking the same thing on the long term.

RE: On his feelings being back in Indianapolis

Great feeling to be back in Indy in so many ways. Just walking through Lucas Oil and seeing the workers here, people here. That's one of the great things about the NFL. You meet a lot of great people, workers, media everywhere, It's great. This is a unique time, where everybody gets together. Looking forward to the work that we are doing here, and evaluating these college players and building this roster to do something special.

RE: On why he came to Carolina

There's so many reasons. Mainly, it was the right fit. You get fired, you don't know if you're going to get a chance again this year or any year. You don't take anything for granted. It probably worked out well for me that I had a chance to kind of regroup. Got the opportunity to interview with Carolina and with another team. I thought those went well. Honestly, I felt like from the time I walked into Mr. (David) Tepper's house, there was an instant connection with he and his wife, Nicole (Tepper), with Scott Fitterer, with Dan Morgan, Samir (Suleiman), the whole leadership team, Kristi Coleman, the team president. I just felt like there was a genuine connection. The whole interview didn't seem like an interview, seemed like a conversation. It seemed like us already working together even though that process went for a couple of weeks and a second interview. You don't know until the very end. But it felt easy, It didn't feel forced, and it felt natural.

RE: On if a 2023 rookie quarterback could be a starter

Yeah, that's what we're evaluating right now. I think a lot of these guys are very talented, smart. Have a lot of the qualities, but we'll continue to make that evaluation.

RE: On his thoughts about the current defense

Super excited about our defense. A big part of the formula is you want to build a top level defense. We have many of those pieces. Up front, you got Brian Burns and Derrick Brown to start. I don't want to start naming everybody. Those are two blue chip players right there, and it starts up front. Excited about them, excited about our whole defense. I'm excited to have Ejiro Evero as our defensive coordinator and the staff that we put together, to really build a scheme that can take advantage of what our defense does well. I really see that as being a real centerpiece to our team in this coming year.

RE: On the option of moving up in the draft and how much they are willing to give up

Every option is on the table at this point, every option. Moving up, moving back, signing a free agent. Every option is on the table. It has to be. This is a huge decision. It would be malpractice not to really vet through every one of those decisions. What's the impact? What are the unintended consequences? You have to think through all that. That's where we're at right now.

RE: On his thoughts on Bryce Young

Highly intelligent, very fast processor, very poised, accurate passer, playmaker. He checks a lot of boxes. No moments too big for him. Very, very good player. Seems like a great young man, very impressive.

RE: On if the size of a quarterback is ever a concern

Yes, it is a concern. Look at Drew Brees, look at Russell Wilson. Are there very many quarterbacks his size that are high-high picks? No, they're not. But there are exceptions to that. There's good reasons that there's exceptions to that. Listen, everything I've seen, every positive thing that's been said about Bryce Young, he's earned and seems warranted. I think that discussion of where he's at and how everyone is viewing him right now is very warranted. He's earned that right by how he's played. How he's handled all the success that he's had. He's an impressive young man.

RE: On the great quarterback coaches on staff and how that will help a future quarterback

That was one of the things sitting down with Mr. (David) Tepper, early on, that we just were committed to do. We were going to commit to doing whatever it took to hire the best staff that we could. He stood behind me on that. Gave us the money we needed to sign some of the coaches that we needed to sign. Talking about quarterback coach, you got Josh McCown, 17 years. Josh and I have been talking about this for a little bit, really excited to get him. I'm very excited to get Parks Frazier as our pass game coordinator. I just think he's an incredibly bright young mind. His future is very, very bright. Then Thomas Brown as our offensive coordinator. Through the interview process, Thomas just he blew us all away. He's a guy I really hadn't had much exposure to. Talking to him, he's the kind of leader and the kind of mind that I think is really going to set up well for our quarterback.

RE: On seeking advice from other coaches and Doug Pederson

Talked to a lot of guys. Talked to Doug quite a bit. You can't force it. Basically, it's like, hey, just live in the moment. Get yourself ready. We as coaches, we know the profession we live in. You don't know you're going to get that second chance. But when you do, like with Doug, you feel prepared for it. Like I know walking into this job, I was interviewed the other day, and someone asked a question, I don't want to say it feels easy, but it just feels more natural. Walking in the second time around, having a clear vision, not being so overwhelmed. When you get that first job as a head coach, it can be a little bit overwhelming at first. As they say, drinking water out of a firehose. It didn't feel like that to me this time around.

RE: On where he starts when evaluating a quarterback

It's a complete evaluation. Yes, you play the game from the ground up so the footwork is incredibly important. It's top to bottom and left to right and every way in between. It's the tangibles, it's intangibles, it's everything. That's what's so great about this week, and this process, and the ongoing process of 30 visits and getting zoom calls with guys. You exhaust that process of evaluation.

RE: On how well Will Levis would fit on the roster

Will's another one of those young guys who's super talented. Obviously got the big arm, big size. Has good experience, has done a lot. Unique circumstances, changed coordinators playing at Kentucky, the dynamics of that. How do you factor all that in? What does that all mean? That's different to every club, every evaluator. Certainly, Will's another one of those guys who's earned the right to be talked about as one of these top quarterbacks in the draft.

RE: On his draft philosophy and looking for the best player available

You got to get great players. This game is about players. It's about the player first and about the best players. They're not independent. The need thing is not independent. When you can get, as they say, a true difference maker, you get the difference maker. Then you build around those players. That's the way we'll continue to work it. Obviously, sitting down with Scott Fitterer, our GM. Excited to be working with him in building this roster and building this team. He and I really see things very similarly, as far as how we want to build philosophically, how we think about this team and where we're at right now.

RE: On how he looks at the quarterback market when it comes Carolina's circumstances

In every way, its better prepared me. You take the circumstances that you were dealt, and the things that you did and that you were part of. You learn from them, the good and the bad. There was both of those in that. You learn from those, but then you get to every year and every year is an independent year from the previous. You take that experience from it, now into a different organization. You obviously always want stability at quarterback. I think that's a huge lesson learned for me from the last time around. What is our best answer for stability at quarterback in the near term and long-term future.

View photos of head coach Frank Reich and general manager Scott Fitterer from their press conferences and interviews with the media at the Combine on Wednesday.

Related Content