Who Will Have a Better First Year? Rhule or Rivera?
Change of scenery. It's something that both former Panthers head coach Ron Rivera and the Carolina Panthers needed. The writing was on the wall that the front office wanted to wipe the slate clean and start from scratch.
Rivera was fired at the tail end of the regular season in 2019 and would eventually be hired by the Washington Redskins to be their next head coach.
The Panthers went in a completely different direction and hired Baylor head coach Matt Rhule. The hire was questioned throughout the country and much of the Panthers fan base, but it was the correct hire. Rhule was headed to the NFL regardless. If he didn't end up in Carolina, he was likely to end up with the New York Giants. He also was rumored to be in consideration for the Dallas Cowboys position and a few others before ultimately signing with Carolina.
Both Rivera and Rhule have a tremendous challenge ahead of them, as they are both dealing with a rebuilding project and have young players scattered throughout their team's respective rosters.
Who will get things turned around quicker? Who will have the better first season? Let's get into it.
Let's first start with the Redskins and Rivera. They are a mess offensively, despite having a star-studded backfield with Adrian Peterson and Derrius Guice. In 2109, the team ranked 31st in total yards (274.7), 32nd in points per game (16.6) and allowed the 7th most sacks (50). The defensive side wasn't much better allowing the 6th most yards per game (385.1) and the 6th most points per game (27.2).
On top of all that, Rivera is dealing with a young, inexperienced quarterback in Dwayne Haskins who is desperately trying to play catch up. The Redskins believe that he is their future, but fear that he is not developing quickly, which is a big reason why they traded for Kyle Allen.
The Redskins still need a ton of help and will likely have troubles on both sides of the ball once again in 2020.
Now, over to the Panthers and Matt Rhule.
Carolina has seen a ton of attrition on both sides of the ball. Out is Cam Newton, Kyle Allen, Trai Turner and Greg Olsen and in is Teddy Bridgewater, Robby Anderson and Russell Okung. Heck, the Panthers may have more offensive fire power now than they did at any point during Cam Newton's time in the Queen City.
Defensively, the Panthers have lost eight starters off of their defense from 2019: DL Vernon Butler Jr., DL Gerald McCoy, DL Dontari Poe, LB Mario Addison, LB Bruce Irvin, LB Luke Kuechly, CB James Bradberry and S Eric Reid. Carolina has added S Juston Burris, DL Chris Smith, DL, Stephen Weatherly and LB Tahir Whitehead to the mix, but will need to make a splash in the draft, potentially with Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons.
The Panthers should muster up some good offensive numbers in 2020, but will need the defense to step up and make critical stops from time to time to be a contender.
As the rosters currently stand, Carolina appears to have a much better chance of having a better season than Washington in 2020 and even beyond. The Redskins rebuild seems as if it may take twice as long as Rhule's rebuild in Carolina.
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