Matt Rhule’s tell-all season with the Carolina Panthers has arrived

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Matt Rhule
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Matt Rhule /

Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule is about to embark on his second year with the franchise, which could be a tell-all campaign after an eventful offseason.

Things certainly haven’t been dull where the Carolina Panthers are concerned this offseason. The team brought in Scott Fitterer from the Seattle Seahawks to replace Marty Hurney as general manager, with the new appointment developing a close working relationship with head coach Matt Rhule to put the organization in the best possible position to progress.

Fitterer can only do so much.

What comes next will be down to Rhule, his staff, and the players.

The former Baylor man got a pass for a 5-11 record in 2020 – his first campaign at the helm. It wasn’t the easiest of situations to come into the league thanks to COVID-19, with the monumental roster changes and departure of key locker room figures such as Greg Olsen, Cam Newton, and Luke Kuechly something else that cannot be ignored.

That won’t be the case this time around. And it all begins against the New York Jets in Week 1.

The naive handling of in-game situations has to get better. This played a role in Carolina failing to get things done down the stretch against some pretty good opposition, so what adjustments Rhule’s made in recent months could make a huge difference.

In many ways, this is a tell-all season for Rhule, who learned under the likes of Bill Parcells and Tom Coughlin on the New York Giants before taking on a prominent leadership role himself.

Matt Rhule and the Carolina Panthers must learn from their mistakes.

His success at Temple and Baylor didn’t happen overnight. However, in Year 2 things improved dramatically within both programs and the same is expected with the Panthers this season.

This isn’t college. And the margin for error is far slimmer in the NFL.

But Rhule needs to learn from his mistakes and show that he is the right man to lead the team to bigger and better things moving forward.

All the players are pulling in the same direction. Rhule holds himself and those working alongside him to high standards, which will hopefully translate to more wins in the column throughout the upcoming campaign.

After all, that’s all fans care about at the end of the day.

Getting off to a good start is important, to put it mildly. If the Panthers cannot make the most out of some favorable early games on the schedule, it won’t take long for the murmurings of discontent to begin.

Rhule wouldn’t be classed as being on the hot seat by any stretch of the imagination. But now that team owner David Tepper has all his pieces in place, it won’t be much longer before he wants winning football in Carolina.

We’ll find out much more about Rhule’s capabilities in 2021. For good or bad.

It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that a seismic shake-up was needed in Carolina.

Rhule made a good impression in extremely difficult circumstances last time around. But the NFL is a what have you done for me lately league and considering how much influence the head coach also has in personnel decisions, the next few months are going to be scrutinized heavily across all areas.

It’s going to be fascinating. There’s no getting away from that.

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The stakes are now much higher for Rhule, whose tell-all season with the Panthers is now upon us.