Panthers are playing the long game with Matt Rhule, and it’s the right move

The Carolina Panthers made an excellent, long-term rent by prying Matt Rhule away from the Baylor Bears — emphasis on long-term.

The primary faculty coach this offseason to make the leap to the NFL wasn’t Lincoln Riley or City Myer, nor was the workforce hiring him the Dallas Cowboys. Baylor’s Matt Rhule was employed by the Carolina Panthers, which is each a terrific rent and an indication that the Panthers are on this for the lengthy haul.

Rhule had been a part of Tom Coughlin’s employees in 2012 as an offensive assistant earlier than he went again to the school sport. Since returning to varsity soccer in 2013 to change into a head coach, he has reworked two downtrodden applications into winners, turning the Temple Owls into AAC Champions and getting Baylor to a Sugar Bowl for the primary time since 1957.

This rent has Tepper written throughout it, who we knew wished to make his personal mark on the franchise he bought from Jerry Richardson in Might 2018.

Although Rhule solely has a 47-43 (32-27) document in seven years as a head coach, no person was going to win like he did at Temple and Baylor. The Owls went 2-10 (1-7) in his first yr in Philadelphia in 2013. They improved each season, turning into bowl eligible in 2014 at 6-6 (4-4), successful the AAC East at 10-4 (7-1) in 2015 and successful the AAC at 10-3 (7-1) in 2016 earlier than he left for Baylor.

Rhule epitomized “Temple Powerful” and this system stays one of many higher Group of 5 since his departure for the Large 12 in 2017. Rebuilding Temple was tough, however making Baylor respectable after the tip of the disgusting Artwork Briles period in Waco was subsequent to inconceivable. But, it took Rhule solely three years to guide the Bears to a Large 12 Championship sport and a New Yr’s Six bowl.

Positive, Baylor went a pitiful 1-11 (1-8) in Rhule’s first yr within the Energy 5 in 2017. However he was constructing a tradition essential to yield a winner. Baylor went 7-6 (4-5) and gained the Texas Bowl in 2018. Getting into 2019, Baylor was seen largely because the fourth or fifth-best workforce within the Large 12, one able to attending to a bowl sport and successful it, however not being prepared for a nationwide stage.

Then, 2019 occurred and everyone knew Rhule was prepared for an excellent greater problem. The 2019 Bears went 11-3 (8-1), with losses to 2 of the top-five groups within the nation: twice to the convention rival Oklahoma Sooners and the Georgia Bulldogs within the Sugar Bowl. Baylor had its greatest season since 2014 and was one play away from reaching the School Soccer Playoff.

Rhule might have stayed at Baylor so long as he wished and would have doubtless achieved Grant Teaff standing within the course of. Nevertheless, it’s laborious to see his program competing with the likes of Oklahoma and the Texas Longhorns constantly within the recruiting panorama.

Although he’s by no means spent a sport on the Carolina sidelines, Rhule epitomizes the Panthers’ mantra of “Hold Pounding”, and has the instruments to proper the ship over the following few years.

So will the Panthers problem the New Orleans Saints, the Atlanta Falcons and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers within the NFC South this season? In all probability not, as Rhule will want time to determine his tradition. The Panthers have to determine what they’re doing on the quarterback place. Will Cam Newton keep, will they aim a free agent or will they draft someone with the No. 7 total decide?

The excellent news is Rhule’s groups change into aggressive within the second yr, which means the Panthers will in all probability be hovering round .500 in 2021. However by yr three in 2022, Carolina will push for a division crown and sure have the Panthers again within the NFC playoffs. Better of all, he has a three-year benefit within the conflict room as a result of he’s recruited all the blokes popping out within the NFL Draft.

In the end, it is a long-term play by the Panthers and one that may work out. To steer two applications that shouldn’t be enjoying for convention championships to the summit tells you the whole lot you might want to learn about Rhule’s teaching acumen. He does the little issues proper that translate to successful. He’s the analytical coach Tepper has craved since shopping for the workforce in 2018.

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