4 primary factors behind the Panthers demise in Week 1 vs. Browns

(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) D.J. Moore
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) D.J. Moore /
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Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) Matt Rhule /

Carolina Panthers looked underprepared

The longer Matt Rhule is head coach, the more convinced fans become he isn’t the answer for the Carolina Panthers.

Rhule has had two solid rosters and failed to put the Panthers anywhere close to wildcard contention over his opening couple of seasons in the job. Within their division, Carolina watched an inferior Atlanta Falcons roster contend for the playoffs late into the 2021 season without the playmakers or defensive pieces at their disposal.

Simply unacceptable.

From his clock management to the early offensive play calling, Rhule’s coaching staff did little to quieten doubts in Week 1. When this offense caught fire it was Baker Mayfield making plays and helping create a sense of urgency in what had been a sleepy offense before the fourth quarter.

This type of mentality continued when the Panthers had a third and long on an impressive late drive. Instead of putting the ball in the hands of your quarterback and giving him a chance to get a first down that likely would have won the game, Rhule and Ben McAdoo played safe.

Carolina handed the ball off for minimal gains before kicking the field goal to take a temporary lead.  Playing not to lose is the quickest way to make mistakes and wipe away leads, which proved to be the case once again.

Rhule needed to believe in the quarterback that got them back in this game and give Mayfield the chance to end it on Carolina’s final offensive play. Another example of the former Baylor man failing to get out of his own way.