Matt Rhule’s post-firing excuses cannot mask constant incompetence

(Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports) Matt Rhule
(Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports) Matt Rhule /

Matt Rhule’s excuses after he was fired by the Carolina Panthers cannot mask the constant incompetence during his three years with the franchise.

The Carolina Panthers have moved on from Matt Rhule. However, it doesn’t appear as if the former head coach has let go after getting the boot from team owner David Tepper following another pathetic loss against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 5.

Rhule recently got the head coaching job at Nebraska on a whopping eight-year contract reportedly worth $74 million. This represents a “falling up” situation in no uncertain terms as the Cornhuskers bank on his college program building rather than focusing on what transpired during his time in Carolina.

The former Baylor man has been on a media rampage over the last fortnight in pursuit of salvaging his reputation. Everywhere you look Rhule seems to be, discussing his time with the Panthers and making some bold claims about what went wrong.

Matt Rhule seems like a walking contradiction

Rhule recently claimed that the goalposts were moved in terms of the project and if he could go back, he’d have taken another job. Even though he was quick to take credit for the team’s resurgence with interim head coach Steve Wilks at the helm.

"“I think I probably would’ve taken another job. It’s a great place with wonderful people, but I don’t know if I was a fit there. What was a four-year plan became a two-year, five game plan real quick. I’m not angry, but if it’s going to be that quick then we’re going to sign some more free agents. I give Steve (Wilks) and the coaches all the credit, but I’m a part of that building process.”"

Finally, this is something Rhule and Panthers fans can agree on. He was completely out of his depth in Carolina, offering no accountability for his own failings and throwing every available scapegoat under the bus to save his own skin.

When there was nobody left, he eventually carried the can. Something that was long overdue with just 11 wins and no progress whatsoever.

Despite it being pretty common knowledge that Rhule had the final say on personnel decisions, he also distanced himself from the quarterback moves that played a leading role in his demise. He “didn’t pick” during the draft, apparently, instead passing the buck to Marty Hurney and Scott Fitterer – the two general managers unfortunate enough to work alongside the departed head coach.

This states one thing above all else. Something the Panthers’ long-suffering fanbase has known for a long time.

Rhule is a walking contradiction. A man who cannot see the wood through the trees and legitimately feels like no blame should go in his direction for the team languishing among the bottom-feeders under his leadership.

No matter how many interviews the master salesman does pleading his case, it cannot mask the constant incompetence displayed as an NFL head coach. A monster created by Tepper, who simply must get his next appointment right to get this organization trending in the right direction.

If Rhule ever took time to wonder why this media merry-go-round is even necessary, he’d find that out for himself.

He might do well at Nebraska, but his methods were not suited to professional players. The constant, often bizarre, excuses during press conferences turned Carolina into the league’s laughing stock.

These latest comments drew fury from beat reporters and fans alike on social media. It seems there are no lengths Rhule won’t stoop to in pursuit of gaining some semblance of respectability from his time in full control of an NFL franchise, which he can deny all he wants but the evidence is clear as day.

The Panthers are better off without Rhule. One only has to examine the togetherness, cohesion, professionalism, and improved preparation under Wilks to see that.

He is like the ex that won’t go away. Claiming nothing to do with this broken relationship was his doing.

Thankfully, this is no longer the Panthers’ problem. And in truth, Matt Rhule’s firing should have occurred a lot sooner.

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