With the Panthers heading into the final week of the regular season out of the playoff race, the focus for the Panther fan base seems to be on positioning the team in the best spot in the draft to get a piece that this team desperately needs. Left tackle is the spot that most people are looking at with the Panthers top ten pick with names like Evan Neal, Ikem Ekwonu and Charles Cross amongst those that are being looked at in this range as part of a strong tackle class.
The Tar Heel football team in 2021 was riddled with inconsistencies and the same looks as if it can be said for the Tar Heel basketball team so far this season. Following arguably the best all-around performance of the season against Boston College, the Tar Heels were picked apart on Wednesday night by a less than stellar Notre Dame, especially on the defensive end of the floor. The Fighting Irish shot 47.5% (29-61) overall on the night and 41.9% (13-31) from beyond the arc in what was another questionable effort defensively from the Tar Heel that left fans with something to desire.
As we head towards the eighteenth and final week of the longest season in Panther history both figuratively and literally, all of the attention is focused on head coach Matt Rhule and whether or not the head coach will return for a third season. Following a 3-0 start, the Panthers have proceeded to lose 11 of the last 13 games and take a proverbial step back from the season that they had a year ago. Rhule currently has the worst record in the first 32 games of a coaching tenure in franchise history, as he sits at 10-22 heading into Sunday's meeting with the Buccaneers in Tampa Bay and as Joe Person of The Athletic reported on Friday, there is talk that David Tepper is unhappy and frustrated with the results based on the contract that he signed Rhule to when he brought him in.
Sunday's loss to the New Orleans Saints may have been the Panthers eleventh loss in thirteen games but it seems like many around the league are still sold on the fact that the Panthers will be hanging on to head coach Matt Rhule for year number three. While there have been a lot of people that have seemed to come around to the idea of Rhule coming back, one guest on the Mac Attack earlier today said that this would be a bad move for the Panthers and owner David Tepper.
The story of Sam Darnold and the Carolina Panthers is a confusing one. For some reason the Panther front office signed his fifth-year rookie extension earlier this offseason without even seeing him play a game as a starter at the NFL level. After a strong start to the season in the first three and a half games of the season, Darnold's season has taken a turn for the worse, as he has thrown for just 200 yards once since Week 4 after doing so in each of the first four weeks and has just a 2-9 TD-INT ratio since that Dallas game.
The 2021 Tar Heel football season mercifully came to an end on Thursday afternoon in Bank of America Stadium with a disastrous 38-21 loss to the South Carolina Gamecocks, a team that came in with one of the worst offenses in all of college football. That loss may have been the final time that Sam Howell will suit up in his college football career and, like it seemed happened too often during his three year career in Chapel Hill, he walked away with a loss that he did everything to avoid with his play at the quarterback position. Howell has yet to make his intentions for his future public yet, but if this is it, it's hard not to feel like the Tar Heels weren't able to do enough with the best quarterback in school history.
Prior to Sunday's home finale against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it was announced that the Carolina Panthers and owner David Tepper were leaning towards bringing Matt Rhule back for his third season in Charlotte. Following that report, the team would proceed to beat down by a depleted Bucs team 32-6, though, looking lifeless throughout the majority of the game and failing to score a touchdown in a game for the third time this season. Later that night, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk said on Football Night America that Matt Rhule is someone to keep an eye on in terms of his job status.
The Hornets had no issues with the Huston Rockets on Monday, disposing of them 123-99 in what was their largest margin of victory of the season. Terry Rozier led the way for team in the win, dropping 27 points on 10-17 shooting from the field and 7-12 from beyond the arc, but the bench production led by Kelly Oubre Jr. and Nick Richards was once again a big part of the success in this one.
The Panthers playoff hopes are officially done as of Sunday after a blowout 32-6 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the team's home finale for the 20212 season. The team was dominated from start to finish by a Bucs team that was as beat up as any team that the Panthers have faced this season, allowing 391 yards of total offense, 6.3 yards per play and 159 yards on the ground, all while facing a team that was without their leading rusher and their top two receivers. Meanwhile, the Panthers continued their struggles offensively, totaling just 273 of total offense and somehow only putting six points on the board in this one.
It's no secret that the Panthers have two major question marks personnel-wise moving forward that the team still has to address, the left tackle and the quarterback positions. Left tackle is a spot where Panther fans have grown frustrated by the fact that the team hasn't taken many risks and has tried to solve the position with band-aid instead of a long-term fix. The quarterback position is an area where the team has been more aggressive, but simply has swung and missed on the three quarterbacks that they have acquired since Matt Rhule's arrival two years ago.