Analyst claims Panthers head coach Matt Rhule ‘not all in’ on the NFL

Dean Jones
(Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports) Matt Rhule
(Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports) Matt Rhule /

A recent report claimed Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule was not “all in” on the NFL with a number of top college jobs available.

It’s been a difficult week for Matt Rhule. The Carolina Panthers head coach had to watch his team get embarrassed at the New York Giants en route to their fourth consecutive loss, which saw him bench quarterback Sam Darnold and endured another active few days of speculation linking the organization with a trade for Deshaun Watson from the Houston Texans.

For the first time since Rhule took over at the helm, it appears as if people are starting to question just how long this rebuild is going to take and whether he is the right man for the job. The Panthers bet big he was the guy, but things need to start improving quickly to silence some growing doubts.

Rhule has looked somewhat deflated of late. Hardly unsurprising when one considers how Carolina’s eye-catching start to the campaign has evaporated into chaos.

Nobody was expecting the Panthers to enter the playoff picture this season or become a contender. What the fans did want, however, was to see progress and a clear sense this was a franchise trending in the right direction.

This does appear to be the case on the defensive side of things. Even if the same cannot be said of the offense and the team’s inability to cope without Christian McCaffrey despite the running back missing 17 of the last 23 games.

Considering Rhule also has the final say on personnel decisions, it won’t be much longer before he’s on the hot seat.

And according to one leading analyst, don’t be surprised if Rhule packs his bags and returns to the college football ranks in 2022.

Speaking on The Herd, FOX Sports’ college football analyst Joel Klatt stated that he’d been told that Rhule was not “all the way in” on the NFL and could be a target for some top jobs including those at USC and potentially Penn State.

"“I’ve been told that Matt Rhule is not… all the way in on the NFL moving forward and that he could potentially come back down to college and take one of these jobs.”"

This would be nothing short of a bombshell.

Rhule has preached patience from a frustrated fanbase following their recent slump. If he were to head back to college with his tail between his legs, then the former Baylor man would undoubtedly be letting a lot of people down.

This is the latest piece of speculation linking a Panthers coach with a move into college. In a recent report from Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News, offensive coordinator Joe Brady is the LSU alumni choice to become their next head coach and replace Ed Orgeron at the end of the season.

Perhaps both are better suited to college. Their failure to make simple adjustments is a constant source of frustration and something that’s hurting the team’s development.

Only time will tell as to whether or not Rhule is targeted by a college program in the weeks and months ahead. One thing is for sure, he wouldn’t be speaking with the same level of denial and ridicule that Mike Tomlin adopted when asked about the USC job this week.

The honeymoon period is well and truly over for Rhule, who was handed a seven-year, $60 million deal by team owner David Tepper to prevent him from taking over at the Giants.

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There is nothing concrete as yet, obviously. But it’s a situation worth monitoring at the very least.