Thu, 23 Mar 2023

Players like what they heard from Frank Reich on first day

Carolina Panthers
01 Feb 2023, 20:44 GMT+10

Darin Gantt

CHARLOTTE - Frank Reich spent half an hour talking about what he hoped to see from his new Panthers team on Tuesday.

And the guys on hand who will be implementing it liked what they heard.

A group of seven players, including three team captains from 2022, were on hand at Bank of America Stadium Tuesday for Reich's introductory press conference.

Veteran cornerback Donte Jackson said it was important for him to be present and take it in from a front-row seat.

"For me it is, being a team captain, and beyond football, that we're here for the organization and bettering it, and he's the guy," Jackson said. "So we want to make sure he knows that we're all in and bought in and that we show up."

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While Reich's history with the Panthers is one thing, he's dealing with a roster full of players who weren't necessarily familiar with that work as a player. Jackson, one of the elders around here, was two months away from being born when Reich started the first game in franchise history in 1995.

But he's also familiarized himself with his new boss's style. Jackson said one of his first calls was to former teammate Stephon Gilmore, who played for Reich in Indianapolis last year.

"Gilly loves him," Jackson said.

Jackson said other than that and Tuesday's press conference, his only knowledge of Reich was from a captain's meeting before their joint practices with the Colts in 2021. But listening to the Reich's message, he was encouraged.

"He's a very passionate football guy," Jackson said. "You could tell that his team and his family means a lot to him. He gives you that sense of family, just a leader of men. You get that feel from him just from talking to him. You just get that feel that he's all-in, that he's about these players, and this organization. And winning and evolving.

"That's the thing that drew me in the most. Just being here six years now, that's the thing you've been looking for. It's cool getting a chance to see it up close and personal, and not through the phone and not on TV. I'm excited for him."

Veteran right tackle Taylor Moton was also there - along with Jeremy Chinn, Ikem Ekwonu, Brady Christensen, Marquis Haynes Sr., and Chuba Hubbard - and liked hearing Reich talk about the importance of the run game, after that became a strength last season.

"Yeah, it does feel pretty good," Moton said with a grin. "At the end of the day, I love just playing the game in general. But linemen, we all get fired up to put our hands in the dirt and just get after it. Run the ball, establish the run. But whatever the head man wants, we're going to do to the best of our ability.

"I'm fired up to get to play for him. He seems like an awesome dude, and an awesome coach. Knows what he's talking about. Just excited to do whatever it takes to help him bring a championship here."

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