Mike Florio

The Deshaun Watson saga continues to be the most dominant headline around the NFL as the league gets set to turn the calendar to a new league year tomorrow morning. Last Friday, the criminal cases against the current Houston Texans quarterback were dismissed and while there are still civil depositions that still need to be resolved, the trade market for him has hit its peak since before the allegations were initially brought to light.

The Panthers completed what will hopefully be their final round of hires for Matt Rhule's rebuilt staff this offseason earlier this week with the hirings of Kevin M. Gilbride (tight ends coach), Joe Dailey (wide receivers coach) and Robert Kugler (assistant offensive line coach) to the offensive staff on Monday. This completed a nearly complete revamp of the team's offensive staff, which saw four members of this past year's group either parted ways with or moved on from on their own, headlined by the in-season departure of offensive coordinator Joe Brady who was replaced earlier this offseason by former Giants head coach and offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo.

Last Monday, legendary quarterback Tom Brady announced his retirement from the league after 22 seasons via his social media platforms and over the weekend, he spoke for the first time publicly about the decision. One of the most interesting quotes that came from it, though, was when he was asked about the possibility of being approached by teams at some point before or during the season when a quarterback goes down with an injury. "I'm just going to take things as they come," Brady told his co-host on the Let's Go Podcast, Jim Gray. "The best way to put, you never say never, but at the same time, I feel very good about my decisions. I don't know how I'll feel six months from now, and if that will change, it most likely won't."

Tuesday, the future of the NFC South was shaken up a bit around the Carolina Panthers when Saints head coach Sean Payton announced that he was stepping away from the New Orleans Saints after a 16-year stint as the team's head coach. This is a major blow for a Saints team who was already going through the process of replacing the legendary Drew Brees and will now have to find a way to replace the most successful coach in franchise history.

While the expectation that the Panthers will end up keeping Matt Rhule for his third season with the Carolina Panthers, yesterday's firing of Joe Judge by the New York Giants has some wondering whether or not there is still a chance that David Tepper could still make the move for a new head coach. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk was on with the Panthers earlier this morning and said that we won't really know what the exact decision until Tepper comes out and confirms it. Florio believes that Jay Glazer, who reported that Daivd Tepper is looking for Matt Rhule to hire a rockstar offensive coordinator, is right and that Tepper could be waiting to see what Rhule comes up with before making an official decision, something that he says is crazy.

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.

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.

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.

"Head coach next." Those were the words that Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk said he was told by a league when asked about Joe Brady's firing earlier this week on Pro Football Talk. Florio, as he does every week, stopped by the Mac Attack to clarify what exactly he was a hearing in reference to the situation in Carolina, a franchise that he referred to as a "dysfunctional" one. Florio is of the belief that this was a move made out of desperation by Matt Rhule with the pressure that he may feel from a less than patient David Tepper. "From the timing of the announcement to the fact that it happened a week into a two week bye and the way that it was discussed and explained, there 's just something about it that doesn't seem right. I feel like there is a heck of a lot more to it. Part of that more to it could be that the head coach realizes there is a good chance he'll be next."

The Panthers currently have the eighth toughest remaining schedule based on winning percentage down the stretch of the season, headlined by the brutal four game stretch to finish the season. That stretch makes Sunday's game in Miami for the Panthers as important as just about any game this season for the Panthers as they look to make a playoff push at the direction of the Cam Newton. Earlier today Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk joined the Mac Attack and described just how important this game is for the Panthers.