There’s a saying, “Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me.” If you have been bamboozled more than once, the joke is on you. Panthers owner David Tepper took a gamble two years ago hiring current head coach Matt Rhule and giving him one of the biggest coaching contracts in the NFL – a seven year, $62 million dollar deal. For someone with limited experience at the professional level it was unheard of.
In back to back years the Panthers ended the season on a free-fall – headed to another 5 win record, no offensive line to protect whomever is behind center, inconsistencies at the quarterback position, including bringing back former NFL MVP Cam Newton and overpaying quarterback Sam Darnold, who over the season has a QBR of 34 and has thrown seven touchdowns to 12 interceptions.
What’s worst is how Rhule finds any excuse possible to vouch for one of “his guys.” Following Sunday’s game versus the New Orleans Saints, Rhule mentioned the protection as a contributing factor in Darnold’s poor play, that included seven sacks, an interception, and erratic throws in pivotal game situations. Why didn’t Rhule have that same energy for Cam Newton when he stated, “We can’t have multiple turnover games from the quarterback position.” after the Panthers’ week 14 loss to the Falcons?
“I thought Cam did some good things today, can’t have them two turnovers though.”
The fact of the matter is, Cam was brought in to revamp an offense that can’t protect the quarterback position regardless of who’s running the show, and a non-existent run game mainly due to injuries Christian McCaffrey sustained over the last two seasons. To make matters worst, Rhule is using Jay-Z quotes to connect to the locker room.
Rhule’s obsession with Darnold, yet again, illustrates not only Rhule’s ineptitude, but his careless play-calling. Maybe Joe Brady wasn’t the only problem in Charlotte. There is no direction, progression, or poise on the offensive side of the ball. The play-calling has been in shambles for weeks. Sam Darnold at best is a 3rd stringer in the National Football league.
David Tepper is saving face by keeping Rhule around for a 3rd season, mainly because he threw the bag at a coach who had little NFL experience over more qualified candidates who can’t even get an interview despite the Rooney Rule – a National Football League policy that requires league teams to interview ethnic-minority candidates for head coaching and senior football operation jobs.
Success in the college ranks does not automatically equate to success in the pros…just ask Urban Meyer, Nick Saban and a handful of others. The only explanation Tepper has for giving Rhule a long contract, with no head coaching experience in the NFL, was his turnaround in college. Maybe Tepper knew this would be a process, but the question is -is Tepper willing to play the waiting game? This is a “what have you done for me lately” league. Speaking of lately, Rhule has lost 11 of his last 13 games, and 20 and his last 27. Coaches have been shown the door with that type of record midseason.
Fans have had it. The PSL’s have had it. Players look like they’re over this season. Where is the line for Tepper?
The Panthers have no identity right now. They are sitting at the bottom of the NFC South and are worst off than they were before hiring Rhule.