Firing Matt Rhule was the only logical choice for Carolina Panthers

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

Firing head coach Matt Rhule was the only logical choice left for Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper after a disastrous start to the 2022 season. 

What seemed inevitable eventually occurred on Monday. Matt Rhule was finally removed from his duties as Carolina Panthers’ head coach.

After another dismal loss in front of a sparse crowd against the San Francisco 49ers at Bank of America Stadium, the tipping point had been reached. Rhule probably knew himself that the writing was on the wall, with team owner David Tepper left with no option other than to end his experiment way ahead of time.

Considering how morale is within the fanbase, this was the only logical choice. Carolina has failed miserably under Rhule with just 11 wins, which was an extreme disappointment considering Tepper shelled out a seven-year, $62 million deal to tempt his guy from the college ranks and out of the New York Giants’ grasp.

Year 3 was the magical time when Rhule banked on things taking a substantial leap forward. But a poor opening to the campaign from some winnable fixtures meant he was always fighting a losing battle.

Carolina Panthers must get Matt Rhule’s replacement right

Just where the Panthers go from here remains to be seen. Rhule will likely get a college job elsewhere and receive a big payday, but Carolina must get their next decision right in pursuit of finally becoming relevant once again.

Steve Wilks gets a long-term audition for the permanent job on an interim basis over the next 12 games. The former defensive backs coach has previous head coaching experience with the Arizona Cardinals and is widely respected among supporters and players in equal measure.

There are multiple hot candidates to potentially examine. Expect Tepper and general manager Scott Fitterer to look towards NFL play-callers rather than someone from the collegiate level this time around, with the temptation to sacrifice big-time draft capital for Sean Payton there for all to see.

According to Jay Glazer of FOX Sports, teams will now be calling the Panthers regarding potential trades. Carolina isn’t blessed with much draft capital and could take this opportunity to recoup some selections for whoever comes in as their next man at the helm.

The collective sense of relief when the news was confirmed on social media was vast. Fans just want to believe in their football team and the toxic atmosphere within the stands was proof positive drastic changes were needed.

Doing the right thing is something Tepper’s struggled with since purchasing the Panthers from Jerry Richardson. It’s been one disaster after another and although it was probably difficult, the billionaire made the correct call to potentially save his ownership.

What’s important for Tepper now is allowing Fitterer and Dan Morgan time to assess Wilks on the job while also keeping a close eye on potential candidates given they’ll have a head start when the time comes.

Rhule’s college methods didn’t transition to the next level. The NFL is a completely different animal and even though the players remained fiercely loyal to a fault, there was no way back given how things unfolded under his leadership.

Firing Rhule was the easy part. What comes next for Carolina is far more important.

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