Panthers coach stays constructive in ‘lower than ideally suited’ scenario


CHARLOTTE, N.C. The Carolina Panthers have a brand new head coach, two new coordinators, a unique beginning quarterback and a roster with extra turnover from final season than any group within the NFL. They havent had a observe but […]

CHARLOTTE, N.C. The Carolina Panthers have a brand new head coach, two new coordinators, a unique beginning quarterback and a roster with extra turnover from final season than any group within the NFL.

They havent had a observe but to start truly putting in the playbook, and wont have a single preseason sport to make evaluations on a really fluid roster scenario.

Oh, and did we point out the regular-season opener in opposition to the Las Vegas Raiders is about six weeks away?

It’s lower than ideally suited, stated head coach Matt Rhule, who changed Ron Rivera after three seasons at Baylor.

Rhule couldn’t have probably imagined what was in retailer for him when he was employed Jan. 7.

He moved his household to the Charlotte space in early March and three days later the town was positioned underneath a stay-at-home order due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

He instantly discovered himself within the midst of extremely unprecedented occasions, conducting group conferences through video convention calls. It’s been a whirlwind ever since with the NFL’s on-field offseason an entire wash, the beginning of coaching camp practices pushed again and the preseason being chopped from 4 video games to 2, and later to zero.

Rhule stated he nonetheless hasn’t met all of his gamers in particular person.

The choice to cancel preseason video games, whereas not essentially on high of the common NFL fan’s grievance record, does put a brand new coach reminiscent of Rhule at a drawback as a result of it restricts a real analysis of gamers, notably these close to the underside of the roster.

The laborious half is there are at all times these guys that while you get into video games they battle to convey what they do in observe to the sport. And a few guys are the alternative, the place one thing particular is lit inside them throughout a sport, Rhule stated.

That can put added emphasis on competitors in observe, Rhule stated.

He’ll rely closely on his teaching workers and the personnel division to assist with roster selections, however the apparent assumption is the Panthers would typically lean extra towards confirmed gamers than undrafted or inexperienced ones.

That is really a time for our gamers the place if they’ve a gathering, whether or not it’s in-person or just about, they must be nice at it. In the event that they get on the observe area and get a few reps they must be nice at them, Rhule stated. Its not ideally suited, however it’s what it’s and had been going to attempt to make good selections.

The Panthers have had just one participant choose out of the season to date due to the virus.

Rhule doesnt know if extra intend to take action, however stated he’ll assist his gamers and their selections.

Regardless of the schedule modifications and uncertainty, Rhule is discovering the positives in a wierd world the place he now wears a contact tracer to work designed to make sure that he stays six ft aside from his assistant teaching workers, the place his gamers spend a part of their day in separate luxurious suites contained in the group’s stadium away from teammates and the observe schedule stays fluid.

There’s actually nothing worse than a soccer coach who complains, he stated.

Rhule hopes that the shortage of a preseason would possibly truly assist the Panthers, saying they may have an opportunity to shock some groups early within the season as a result of opponents received’t make sure what to anticipate from Carolina, notably on offense with revolutionary former LSU offensive coordinator Joe Brady calling the performs.

One factor is obvious: Rhule is excessive on Teddy Bridgewater as his quarterback, calling him an ideal match for the Panthers.

Bridgewater, who replaces longtime starter Cam Newton, spent the 2018 season working alongside Brady with the New Orleans Saints. And whereas their relationship doesn’t strategy the Tom Brady/Josh McDaniels stage, Rhule stated Bridgewater’s familiarity with the offensive system is important given the group’s lack of observe time.

He’s all soccer, Rhule stated. He’s eaten up with the sport. He likes to speak about it. He likes to consider it. He’s bought an effective way about him. If it had been as much as him he could be right here all day going by way of all of it.”


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