This past weekend, the Carolina Panthers went through countless fights, a blown lead and a bunch of silly, ill-timed penalties. But according to head coach Matt Rhule, they’re still better off for it.
When asked on Monday if his team improved following their two joint practices and preseason matchup with the Indianapolis Colts, Rhule jumped at the opportunity to give his guys props.
“Significantly better,” he said of the Panthers’ output as a whole. “I think the first day, I think we went out there and we kinda dipped our toe in the water. And the Colts . . . didn’t dip their toe in the water.”
The feeling around the first installment of the workouts was that the Colts played the role of aggressor at the expense of the visiting Panthers. That quickly changed in Rhule’s eyes.
“I think the second day we came out there, and if you were on that defensive field, our defense went out there and said ‘Hey, we’re gonna forge an identity,’” he continued. “I think offensively, seeing Sam [Darnold] in the two-minute, take us right down the field, kick the field goal to win it, I thought we came out of the second day feeling ‘Hey, we’re a way better football team than we were even yesterday.’”
Then, despite the less than optimal result and botched (not “missed,” that was the other guy’s thing) opportunities in the actual game, the second-year head coach was encouraged by the overall progress.
“We’re certainly not where we want to be. But in the totality of why we did that, we’re significantly better than when we got on the plane last Wednesday.”
We’ll see how significant of a step they’ve taken when the (even more challenging) Baltimore Ravens roll into Charlotte starting on Wednesday.
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