Matt Rhule shouldn’t have to explain his desire to win

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Matt Rhule
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Matt Rhule /
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Carolina Panthers
(Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports) Matt Rhule /

What Matt Rhule had to say

It did seem strange that Matt Rhule was so keen to explain himself regarding his desire to implement a winning mentality across the Carolina Panthers. The head coach immediately opened his Monday presser with a statement on the matter, which makes it pretty clear that he had his ears wide open in the immediate aftermath of the victory.

Rhule highlighted the Panthers’ lack of conviction once the business end of the campaign rolls around as a key component behind their downfall during the final few seasons of Ron Rivera. This played a significant part in his firing and owner David Tepper giving his new man a seven-year, $60 million deal to prise him away from the college system.

"“I’ve been preaching to our team, if you want to be a champion, it’s the way you play at the end of seasons and the end of games. We’ve been given the blessing of going to Lambeau and playing a team that’s playing for the first seed, a team yesterday that it was a playoff game for them, and a Saints team that’s playing to be the first second or third (seed). Organizationally, we haven’t won games in December, which is why we haven’t made playoff runs, so that’s a focus this year, among others.”"

This is a good opportunity for these traits to be installed.

The Panthers aren’t playing for anything other than pride with a 5-11 record and getting into the right frame of mind no matter what at this stage of the season is going to be a fantastic learning curve for a team that doesn’t have much in the way of experience to call upon.

Rhule built up an exceptional record of building up struggling college programs, so the man knows what he is talking about.

And judging by the way he has conducted himself in the most disrupted of seasons thanks to COVID-19 health concerns, Rhule was the right man for the job.

There is much work still to be done. But the early signs are positive and it’s clear the players are completely on board with what Rhule is trying to accomplish.