The Carolina Panthers are in deep, deep, deep shit. Deeper than their 5-12 document reveals, and extra pronounced than most individuals are speaking about. It’s gotten to the purpose the place it’s tough to discover a crew 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, nevertheless it’s develop into abundantly clear that Matt Rhule is totally destroying the crew 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 brought about the inspiration in Carolina to fracture. When Rhule determined to fireplace offensive coordinator Joe Brady mid-season and throw him beneath the bus for not sharing his soccer imaginative and prescient, it reeked of a dude making an attempt to avoid wasting himself. Nothing modified when Brady was gone, and the Panthers appeared worse offensively to shut out the 12 months. On Tuesday, extra coaches had been sacrificed on the altar of Rhule’s incompetence, with the crew saying that offensive line coach Pat Meyer, line of defense coach Frank Okam, and particular groups coordinator Chase Blackburn had been all being fired as effectively.
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 fireplace as effectively 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 stage. Two of his hand-picked coaches are actually gone for not figuring out, he’s whiffed on beginning quarterbacks in back-to-back years, and he solely threw gasoline on the fireplace 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 “ideally suited sort out dimension” and so they weren’t snug “taking a guard that top.” Additionally mentions that he has a cellular QB in LA.
— The 4 Man Rush (@4ourmanrush) January 13, 2022
Slater was lately 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 stage as effectively, as a result of he’s behaving like a soccer dinosaur.
To make issues worse: Rhule has nearly full management over the Panthers. The highly-coveted school coach seen as a “program builder” who rotated Temple and rebuilt Baylor, there was no scarcity of groups who had been involved in him. Proprietor David Tepper determined to make this his large marquee transfer, touchdown the coach everybody needed and giving him the moon for it. Not solely was Rhule given large cash, however he was allowed to hand-pick each side of his teaching workers, irrespective of the fee, and have a multi-million greenback analytics division constructed to him to execute his “fashionable” and “analytic” method to soccer.
Now, two years later, Rhule is on the radio saying that he wasn’t involved in 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 recent soccer analytics, it runs counter to the way in which profitable groups take into consideration NFL gamers. Adhering to arbitrary dimension figures with out inspecting expertise, approach or statistics-based knowledge essentially runs counter to the “fashionable” method 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 is no such thing as a class by which Darnold is much like both participant. Jones was demonstrably higher in each approach in 2021, whereas Fields struggled in his rookie 12 months however confirmed flashes of promise in the direction of the tip of the season that confirmed future hope.
Darnold began the season sturdy, and shortly grew to become the very same participant he’s been for 3 years. Rhule made the decision to increase his contract early as effectively, placing the Panthers in quarterback limbo.
It’s develop into obvious that this complete train is 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 prepared to throw anybody beneath the bus to maintain his head above water. In the meantime David Tepper, proud as billionaires are typically, has proven no willingness to confess he received duped by Rhule in the course of the hiring course of, and has as a substitute chosen to fade at a time followers are wanting solutions. It was Tepper’s name to rent Rhule and not using a 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 a minimum of the Jaguars and Giants had the heart to make the powerful name and transfer on. The Panthers appear content material with letting this example experience out, and for the Panthers to dying spiral into oblivion. It doesn’t must be this manner, nevertheless it’s occurring.