Carolina Panthers coach, Matt Rhule, working to establish competition up and down the roster.
While it remains to be seen if the Carolina Panthers can compete against their NFC South opponents and the remainder of the NFL, one thing is clear. New coach Matt Rhule is going to have virtually a clean slate to work with as he attempts to revitalize the Panthers franchise.
A majority of cornerstone pieces from the previous regime have been removed. Although general manager Marty Hurney remains, he’s parted ways with key figures of the past and is working to bring in some familiar faces with which Rhule (or other coaches) have worked with in the past.
This offseason Carolina saw linebacker Luke Kuechly retire, tight end Greg Olsen sign with the Seattle Seahawks, cornerback James Bradberry exit and quarterback Cam Newton be cut. The former No. 1 overall pick, made by Hurney, was released in exchange for former New Orleans Saints backup, Teddy Bridgewater.
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These moves and an unwillingness to keep a majority of those who became free agents this season, sets up exactly what Rhule was hoping to achieve. Aside from a handful of positions, there are multiple opportunities for players to prove themselves and earn opportunities on game day. This culture of competition hopefully translates into positive results on the field.
Even if not immediately, Rhule was granted a lengthy contract and should be given a bit of leeway in order to establish his precedence over the team. However, owner David Tepper isn’t going to sit around and accept mediocre records. Winning, an eventual return to the playoffs and bringing the first ever Lombardi Trophy to Charlotte are the goals on which he and this new Panthers team have set their sights.
Rhule, Hurney and the Panthers will add their next competitive pieces during the NFL Draft later this month (April 23-25).