5 Carolina Panthers firmly on the hot seat vs. 49ers in Week 5

(Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports) Matt Rhule
(Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports) Matt Rhule /
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Carolina Panthers
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Matt Rhule /

Matt Rhule – Carolina Panthers HC

It was a relatively stress-free week leading up to Week 4 for head coach Matt Rhule compared to what he’s been used to over the last year. The Carolina Panthers ending a concerning losing streak against the New Orleans Saints helped, but the former Baylor man was brought crashing back down to earth following another disappointing reverse on home soil versus the Arizona Cardinals.

Rhule is widely anticipated by many to be the first head coach removed from his duties this season. Although team owner David Tepper – who has been relatively silent over the last two years – hasn’t indicated one way or another as to whether his confidence is wavering.

It’s not just the way Carolina is losing, it’s the same problems on offense constantly emerging and almost no adjustments to potentially rectify these complications. There is also the not-so-small matter of Rhule’s failure to develop talent at the NFL level – one of the main reasons why Tepper coveted him so highly out of the collegiate ranks.

There were expected questions and scrutiny surrounding his job status throughout the week. And the San Francisco 49ers won’t be doing Rhule any favors in Week 5 as they look to get themselves to 3-2 and improve their playoff chances for good measure.

Everyone seems to be on the same page, which is a saving grace for Rhule. But unless some substantial improvements occur quickly, it’s hard to envisage a situation where the oddsmakers aren’t proved right at some stage.