4 big Carolina Panthers storylines to watch against the Raiders

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Kawann Short and Russell Okung
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Kawann Short and Russell Okung /
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Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Matt Rhule /

Matt Rhule’s in-game adjustments

This is also a journey into the unknown for Matt Rhule, who is testing the skills in a prominent NFL coaching role for the first time. The Carolina Panthers bet big that the former Baylor man can lead the organization back to prominence in the coming years. But he is going to find out quickly just what a big difference making calls at the next level is compared to what he has been used to in college.

There are little doubting Rhule’s credentials. He has built a fantastic reputation for leading struggling programs back to contending and Carolina will be counting on this sort of success making a smooth transition to the pro ranks.

Plenty of college coaches who made the same step-up in class failed to meet expectations. Rhule will be hoping he can buck this concerning recent trend and how he adjusts to in-game situations is going to be a key component in any success that comes his way.

Rhule is a rookie head coach that is leading a team that is relatively devoid of any real veteran leadership. His efforts to shift the culture of the franchise has been evident during the preparation period. But this will count for nothing if things start off on a downward slide and continue throughout the season.

Coming up against such an accomplished figure such as Jon Gruden first time out is far from ideal. Both men have been very complimentary about each other in the build-up and Rhule would be prudent to leave emotions at home ahead of his first sample of competitive action as an NFL head coach.