Carolina Panthers search for a head coach:And then there were two(Steve Wilkes and Frank Reich)

Panthers have narrowed coaching search down to two candidates
from Mike Santa Barbara, with

And then there were two.

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the Carolina Panthers are reportedly close to naming a new head coach.

The Panthers have narrowed the search to two candidates per Rapoport, including interim head coach Steve Wilks and former Indianapolis Colts headman Frank Reich, who both had second interviews with the team on Wednesday.

The Panthers fired head coach Matt Rhule after a 1-4 start to the season, turning things over to Wilks on an interim basis. Carolina saw a turnaround under Wilks, going 6-6 while winning four of its last six games to finish 7-10.

Wilks seemingly has the backing of the Panthers’ locker room, as several players revealed after the season that they’d like to have him back.

Meanwhile, after posting a 3-5-1 record through nine games, the Colts fired Reich in favor of former Pro Bowler Jeff Saturday. Immediately after being let go, Reich expressed his desire to be a head coach after leading the Colts to a 40-33-1 mark with two playoff appearances over five seasons.

The Panthers should be in great shape in whichever direction they choose. Wilks has already solidified a positive relationship with the players, and bringing him back makes the transition into 2023 reasonably seamless. On the flip side, if Carolina decides Reich is the better choice, they’ll bring in a solid offensive mind with a Super Bowl ring and ties to the Panthers.