What did Jon Gruden have to say on facing the Panthers?

(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) Jon Gruden
(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) Jon Gruden /

What did Jon Gruden have to say on the Carolina Panthers ahead of their Week 1 clash at Bank of America Stadium this weekend?

New head coach Matt Rhule is just a few short days away from embarking on his first NFL game with the Carolina Panthers.

The former Baylor man has got his work cut out trying to get the Carolina Panthers back to prominence. This is something he built a strong reputation for doing with two different programs in college. But Rhule is going to find out quickly just what a different environment it is at the next level.

Having an offseason period with so much disruption has only increased concerns surrounding Carolina’s chances of being competitive in 2020. Rhule has completely changed the ethos of the franchise from a coaching and personnel perspective in a short space of time and he will be hoping this can bring instant results.

Jon Gruden is going in blind against the Carolina Panthers.

They have a good chance to get an opening day victory at an empty Bank of America Stadium against the Las Vegas Raiders, providing everything clicks into place right away. If Rhule is lacking in any sort of play-calling experience at the next level, the same cannot be said of opposing head coach Jon Gruden.

The Raiders tempted Gruden out of the ESPN Monday Night Football broadcast booth with a lucrative deal prior to the 2018 season. He has built a young and exciting roster that might be in contention for a playoff berth is things go according to plan this season.

Gruden is a Super Bowl winner who has seen it all in the NFL. This is a stark contrast to his adversary on Sunday. But he spoke of his admiration for Rhule and the problems preparing for a team with no film to call upon during recent media availability this week.

"“We did a lot of work. We watched Temple, we watched Baylor, we watched anything we could get our hands on. It’s a little like when you were a high school coach and you used to drive across the county to exchange films, but unfortunately, their coach never showed up so you didn’t get any tape to look at. It’s a challenge, there’s no doubt. What are they going to play in third-and-5? What are they going to play in goal line, short yardage? We’ll just trust our preparation, trust our rules, do the best we can.”"

This might be something that works in the Panthers’ favor. Gruden also stated they examined LSU’s historic passing attack under new offensive coordinator Joe Brady for further clues as to how Carolina is going to approach Sunday’s game. An element of surprise only works for so long and it remains to be seen whether this new-look roster can strike while the iron is hot and get out in front.

If they can somehow do this, then it would allow their pass-rushers to get after the quarterback consistently and take some of the pressure off a suspect cornerback group. Everything needs to go right for the Panthers in order for them to start on the right foot. But Rhule will be getting a crash course in coaching at the next level either way it goes.

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Rhule himself has spoken of his deep respect for Gruden, whom he considers a mentor of sorts. This will count for nothing when the pair clash heads when competitive action gets underway and we will not know for sure just what to expect from the Panthers until we see them on the field.