The Carolina Panthers are in deep, deep, deep shit. Deeper than their 5-12 file reveals, and extra pronounced than most individuals are speaking about. It’s gotten to the purpose the place it’s troublesome to discover a workforce with extra dysfunction than Carolina, outdoors of the Jacksonville Jaguars. More often than not it’s unfair to focus this all down on one particular person, however it’s develop into abundantly clear that Matt Rhule is totally destroying the workforce he’s presupposed to be teaching to victory, and damaging the group far past something most coaches are able to.
Rhule was on shaky floor for a lot of the season, however his actions this week have induced the muse in Carolina to fracture. When Rhule determined to fireplace offensive coordinator Joe Brady mid-season and throw him below the bus for not sharing his soccer imaginative and prescient, it reeked of a dude attempting to avoid wasting himself. Nothing modified when Brady was gone, and the Panthers regarded worse offensively to shut out the yr. On Tuesday, extra coaches had been sacrificed on the altar of Rhule’s incompetence, with the workforce asserting that offensive line coach Pat Meyer, defensive position coach Frank Okam, and particular groups coordinator Chase Blackburn had been all being fired as properly.
Meyer and Okam had been each Matt Rhule hires in 2020 when he took excessive job. Blackburn had been with the Panthers since 2018, and was presumably thrown on the hearth as properly so it modified the optics of Rhule being unable to guage expertise
That is actually on the coronary heart of Carolina’s issues: Matt Rhule is unable to guage expertise at any degree. Two of his hand-picked coaches at the moment are gone for not understanding, he’s whiffed on beginning quarterbacks in back-to-back years, and he solely threw gasoline on the hearth when requested Thursday why the Panthers, who desperately want offensive line assist, determined towards drafting Rashawn Slater.
Matt Rhule confirms on WFNZ that Rashawn Slater was not “best sort out measurement” they usually weren’t snug “taking a guard that prime.” Additionally mentions that he has a cellular QB in LA.
— The 4 Man Rush (@4ourmanrush) January 13, 2022
Slater was not too long ago named to the Professional Bowl in his first season with the Chargers. One of many solely knocks on Slater within the pre-draft course of was his arm size. Coincidentally, arm size seems to be a difficulty for Matt Rhule on a private degree as properly, as a result of he’s behaving like a soccer dinosaur.
To make issues worse: Rhule has virtually full management over the Panthers. The highly-coveted school coach seen as a “program builder” who circled Temple and rebuilt Baylor, there was no scarcity of groups who had been excited about him. Proprietor David Tepper determined to make this his huge marquee transfer, touchdown the coach everybody needed and giving him the moon for it. Not solely was Rhule given enormous cash, however he was allowed to hand-pick each side of his teaching employees, regardless of the fee, and have a multi-million greenback analytics division constructed to him to execute his “trendy” and “analytic” strategy to soccer.
Now, two years later, Rhule is on the radio saying that he wasn’t excited about drafting a participant who would develop into a Professional Bowl left sort out as a result of his arms had been too quick. This flies within the face of contemporary soccer analytics, it runs counter to the best way profitable groups take into consideration NFL gamers. Adhering to arbitrary measurement figures with out analyzing expertise, approach or statistics-based knowledge basically runs counter to the “trendy” strategy Rhule made his invoice of products.
On Thursday Rhule additionally addressed the quarterback place, saying that he determined to not draft Justin Fields or Mac Jones as a result of he felt Sam Darnold was “in the identical class.” Let’s be abundantly clear: There isn’t a class by which Darnold is much like both participant. Jones was demonstrably higher in each means in 2021, whereas Fields struggled in his rookie yr however confirmed flashes of promise in direction of the tip of the season that confirmed future hope.
Darnold began the season sturdy, and shortly turned the very same participant he’s been for 3 years. Rhule made the decision to increase his contract early as properly, placing the Panthers in quarterback limbo.
It’s develop into obvious that this whole train is now not about profitable soccer video games for the Carolina braintrust, it’s about saving face. Rhule is desperately hoping one thing will click on, and till then he’s keen to throw anybody below the bus to maintain his head above water. In the meantime David Tepper, proud as billionaires are usually, has proven no willingness to confess he obtained duped by Rhule throughout the hiring course of, and has as an alternative chosen to fade at a time followers are wanting solutions. It was Tepper’s name to rent Rhule with no GM being in place, so the blame falls on him, and his ego isn’t permitting him to drag the bandaid off and let this wound heal.
There are organizations with deep systemic issues, however no less than the Jaguars and Giants had the cuts to make the powerful name and transfer on. The Panthers appear content material with letting this case experience out, and for the Panthers to loss of life spiral into oblivion. It doesn’t should be this manner, however it’s occurring.