A recent feature on USA Today Sports piled further pressure on Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule ahead of the 2022 season.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that Matt Rhule is a man under pressure in 2022. The head coach has endured a rough ride over his first two seasons with the Carolina Panthers, accumulating 10 wins and leaving many wondering whether he has what it takes to succeed in the NFL.
Rhule kept his job despite deafening calls for action from large sections of the team’s fanbase. David Tepper ignored this, giving his guy another campaign to potentially turn things around heading into his third season.
This is normally the time when Rhule made notable strides in college at both Temple and Baylor. Something that didn’t go unnoticed by Tepper, who handed his appointment a seven-year, $62 million deal to prevent the New York Giants from swooping in.
Things haven’t gone according to plan so far. But it’s hard not to notice Rhule’s refreshed appearance and the improved confidence in which he is speaking during press conferences.
Perhaps this comes with experience. Although some makeovers at key positions coupled with a coaching staff loaded with NFL success have helped this offseason.
With that being said, it all starts with coaching. And Rhule has his work cut out proving his doubters wrong in pursuit of genuine progression at long last.
If he cannot, then it might be time for another fresh start.
Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule ranked No. 2 on USA Today Sports’ hot seat list
This was highlighted in a recent article from Nate Davis of USA Today Sports ranking coaches on the hot seat heading into 2022. Unsurprisingly, Rhule was No. 2 on the list behind only Mike McCarthy, head coach of the Dallas Cowboys.
Davis stated that the Panthers boast far too much talent to be languishing in mediocrity. Something Tepper’s will to win might not stand for if things continue trending downward.
"“A last-place finish and 30th-ranked offense in 2021 belie the talent on this roster, and it should be noted that injuries have limited former All-Pro RB Christian McCaffrey to 10 games during Rhule’s reign. But the franchise’s failed pursuit of Watson is a strong indicator of how badly new-ish owner David Tepper wants to win. If the Panthers aren’t competitive, seems likely that Tepper will be taking his second stab at a head coaching hire.”"
It’s a precarious situation for Rhule and the Panthers. It was a tremendous offseason in terms of recruitment and coaching improvements, so there are no more excuses for the man at the helm.
Getting off to a good start is crucial. Rhule outlined the fact they must take advantage of so many home games early on the schedule, but the tests awaiting them are stern and mean there is no room for passengers.
The floor is extremely low for the Panthers in 2022. Not many within the national media are expecting Carolina to make great strides, but their ceiling might be higher than people think if everything clicks into place right away.
Rhule knows the time for talk is over. Winning is all that matters after so much underachievement since taking the job.
The stakes could not be higher for Rhule, in all honesty. But his belief is unwavering that this is the year Carolina becomes a force once again.