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Report: Panthers Plan to Keep Head Coach Matt Rhule For 2022 Season

Despite two seasons with at least 11 losses, the Panthers plan to keep head coach Matt Rhule for the 2022 season, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler

Rhule, 46, will remain with the franchise and begin a search for an offensive coordinator next week, per Fowler. Rhule fired former offensive coordinator Joe Brady on Dec. 5 after less than two seasons with the franchise.

Brady joined Carolina before the start of the 2020 season after winning the Broyles Award—the award given to the best assistant coach in college football—in 2019 when he was working with LSU. Since Rhule fired Brady, Jeff Nixon, Carolina’s senior offensive assistant, took over as the offensive coordinator with the rest of the Panthers offensive coaching staff.

Rhule has posted a 10–22 record in his tenure with the franchise. He went 5–11 in his first season in 2020 as the Panthers lost nine of their final 11 games. 

Carolina owner David Tepper hired Rhule on a seven-year, $62 million contract in addition to providing $6 million to buy out Rhule from Baylor. Rhule replaced former Panthers and current Washington Football Team coach Ron Rivera, who was fired four games into the 2019 season.

Rhule’s only coaching experience in the NFL prior to his current job was as an offensive assistant with the Giants in 2012. But, per Fowler, Rhule was hired because of his ability to rebuild programs quickly at Temple and Baylor.

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The other side of fixing Carolina’s offense for Rhule will be figuring out the future of the quarterback position. During the Panthers’ last home game against the Buccaneers on Dec. 26, quarterback Sam Darnold appeared to be booed when he checked in the game to replace Cam Newton. Rhule stated after the Dec. 26 game that the game plan included both Darnold and Newton to get snaps.

Despite the franchise not accumulating wins, Rhule believes players on the team are making individual strides.

“A lot of guys are having a lot of individual success, having their best years playing for us,” Rhule said. “If you just keep doing that and keep adding the right pieces then eventually everyone—you have a really good team. 

“We have some key areas that we have to fix. Whether that is to coach them better or to do a better job organizationally. But I believe it is 1000% working, I just know no one can see it and I apologize.”

Carolina (5–11) currently sits at the bottom of the NFC South and has not made it to the playoffs or recorded a winning season since 2017.

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