2021 NFL

It is safe to say that many Carolina Panthers fans have quit on QB Sam Darnold, and rightfully so, as Darnold has posted just 7 touchdowns to 12 interceptions this season. But given how much he is owed next season, it is likely that Darnold will at least be on the roster, and will enter the off-season as the favorite to start the season opener in 2022. One of the many tasks at hand for Matt Rhule this off-season is to hire an offensive coordinator, after firing Joe Brady during the bye week. Rhule mentioned after the firing, that he stepped out of his comfort zone when hiring Brady, and wants to get to playing his brand of football. No names have been mentioned yet for the position, as Jeff Nixon is currently holding that role, and potentially auditioning to be the next OC, but Ellis Williams joined Wilson & Norfleet this afternoon, and this to say about the play-caller, in regards to Sam Darnold being the signal-caller:

The Carolina Panthers are 5-10 in large part to below average play at the quarterback position, as they have started Sam Darnold, Cam Newton, and PJ Walker under center this season. The QB position is the most important position in football, and arguably all of sports, yet that hasn't stopped Matt Rhule from neglecting the position. Rhule is likely coming back for a third season, despite being just 10-22 in the NFL, but there will be expectations to win, and win big. In order to do that though, the Panthers will need to revamp the QB position right? Josh Klein from the Riot Report joined Wilson & Norfleet earlier today and said:

Until the end of the season, and even at the start of the off-season, there is going to be a lot of talking heads giving their opinion on the job status of Matt Rhule, who is struggling to adjust to life in the NFL, as he is only 10-22 in his brief NFL career. There are many people who think Rhule should be fired, after only two seasons on the job, then there are others that aren't of the opinion he should be let go. One of those people happens to be a columnist for The Charlotte Observer, Scott Fowler who wrote a piece after Sunday's loss, saying that Rhule doesn't need to be fired. He joined Wilson & Norfleet earlier today to explain why that is:

From a 3-0 start, to the hot seat, it has been a very trying season for Panthers HC Matt Rhule, who is still trying to prove he belongs in the NFL. The Panthers have lost 10 of their last 12 games and were officially eliminated from playoff contention with yesterday's 32-6 loss to the Tampa Bay Bucs. The recent losing streak has brought into question the job status of Matt Rhule, who signed a seven-year, $63 million dollar contract just two seasons ago, and yet is only 10-22 in the NFL. Panthers beat reporter for The Charlotte Observer joined Wilson & Norfleet earlier today, and offered this opinion as to why it would make sense to move on from Rhule: "You look at his record in November and December for the past two years, and you worry about momentum, like where is this headed. Why isn't this team building towards success?" What kept John Fox and Ron Rivera in Charlotte for extended periods of time, were successful ends to seasons, that show glimpses of hope for the future, which were proven true as the Panthers would make the Super Bowl under both Fox and Rivera. Matt Rhule is still searching for his first signature win in the NFL, something that if you don't have after two seasons in the NFL, doesn't lend well to your long-term future. 

The Carolina Panthers have lost 9 of their last 11 games, and after a 3-0 start, they sit at 5-9 and are virtually out of the playoff picture. The recent losing streak which extended to four games on Sunday in Buffalo has raised the question of Matt Rhule's job security in Carolina after this season. Rhule, who signed a seven-year, $63 million dollar contract roughly two years ago, is 10-20 in the NFL. Despite his struggles in the league, he was sought after for all the premium openings in college football, but never really considered leaving. There's no denying that Matt Rhule was David Tepper's guy, remember he out-bid the New York Giants for Rhule's services, and even visited Rhule's house to interview him, and offer him the job. During the struggles of this season in particular, Tepper has been very quiet, which hasn't eased any concerns Rhule may be having. Joe Person from The Athletic joined Wilson & Norfleet, and had this to say on the matter: "It feels like this is a franchise were somebody needs to say something. Everything I keep hearing is that Rhule is probably safe" Tepper has only made a handful of public comments in the last year or so, but this feels like the appropriate time to hear from the NFL's richest owner, as his franchise is currently suffering from the fourth consecutive losing season, the first time that has ever happened in the history of the Carolina Panthers. 

With the Panthers have lost 7 of their last 9 games, many people have their opinions of the team, as they currently sit at 5-7 coming off their bye. Last Friday, former Panthers safety Tre Boston joined Wilson & Norfleet to talk about the struggles of his former team. When asked specifically about the issues for the team, Boston replied: " I believe it's an identity crisis. Right now we just don't know who we want to be. We don't know if we're the 3-0 Panthers, the four straight loss Panthers, we don't know if we want to run the ball, pass the ball. We were a good defensive team. We don't know if we want to play good defense anymore. It's all about getting back to your roots. Getting back to what you're successful at. Yesterday the Panthers fired offensive coordinator Joe Brady, so it's safe to say even they don't know what they are successful at themselves. Tre would later go on to say that he thinks this Sunday's game at home against the division rival Atlanta Falcons is a must-win and would go a long way for the confidence of the team heading into 2022, which could be a pivotal season for Matt Rhule, in terms of his long term tenure in Carolina.