As of 10:42 AM EST, it has been reported that Matt Rhule is set to be the newest Head Coach of the Carolina Panthers; as they beat out the Giants who were initially favored to hire Rhule. Let’s break down all the pieces of this huge decision.
Head Coach Opening
The Carolina Panthers fired head coach, Ron Rivera in Week 14 of the 2019 season. This set up for a big change within the organization, as he had been the team’s Head Coach for eight seasons. Compiling a record of 79-67-1 as a Head Coach – that included COTY awards, and a 15-1 record / Super Bowl appearance; he was later hired by the Washington Redskins.
Matt Rhule’s Resume
The former Baylor and Temple Head Coach had quite a bit of success at the collegiate level. While with the Temple Owls, he took the team to two consecutive conference championship games and was victorious in the second of those two games which gave the program their first conference championship since 1967. An even bigger feat in the eyes of Temple fans was the team’s first victory in 74 years over Rhule’s alma mater, Penn State. After leaving Temple, he went onto coach the failing Baylor Bears. In 3 seasons, Rhule took the team to a Big 12 championship as well as a bowl victory; in a remarkable turnaround of the big program.
Why this Hire Makes Sense
I love the Matt Rhule hire for the Panthers. Riverboat Ron is not a bad coach, but the team desperately needed a culture change. Bringing in a new and savvy mind to lead the team is a move I love for today’s NFL.
Rhule knows the game very well and has aforementioned experience turning around floundering programs. In addition to their success, the team was very disciplined with only 90 penalties in their 2019 campaign. For comparison, Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide committed 95 penalties.
Although Rhule never had the talent that other Big 12 programs had, he was always very competitive, and found ways for his players to produce. In the 2 most recent seasons with Rhule, Charlie Brewer has passed for over 6,000 passing yards and 58 total touchdowns with only 16 interceptions. Those are very impressive numbers given the team’s balanced pass/run offense.
Given his experience as an NFL Linebacker, Baylor’s defense did a good job of keeping Rhule’s teams in the game. The team had 30 takeaways in 2019, which if translated, would be a big help to a Panthers team that will likely either have a new QB – or Cam Newton who hasn’t been himself in multiple seasons.
I am very excited for the future of the Carolina Panthers in the Matt Rhule era. Rhule will be under contract for the next 7 seasons, and given his history, I expect the team to be in the playoffs multiple times during his first contract.