The Carolina Panthers may be in for a philosophical shift soon, but Matt Rhule still isn’t moving off his desire to run the football.
Following Sunday’s season-ending 41-17 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Rhule spoke to reporters about the future of his team. When asked what he’d like his offense to do moving into his third season at the helm, the 46-year-old head coach remained firm on his ground-based attitude.
“I’d like us to have a true identity of being able to run the football, play-action and protect the quarterback,” he said in his postgame presser. “We want to be able to control the line of scrimmage and run the football and protect the ball and we want to be able to do those things. It’s just the tactics for how to do it. We’re going to try to find someone who can get that done at a high level. There are lots of people who can. It will truly be a process.”
That process Rhule is referring to will hopefully, perhaps for his immediate sake, land him a “rockstar” offensive coordinator. His new hired gun, which’ll be his second already if he manages to stick on with owner David Tepper, then must be able to help fix one of the league’s most broken units.
Rhule’s three-pronged wish of protecting the rock, running said rock and controlling the line never had a chance of coming to fruition in 2021. Ironically enough, Carolina rosters the most turnover-prone quarterback in the game, has sidelined their star rusher for the majority of the year and continues to field the most fluid offensive front out there.
These unfortunate circumstances, self-inflicted or otherwise, have led to awful results . . . obviously. The Panthers now close out the campaign as one of only three teams, along with the New York Giants and Houston Texans, to average less than 300 yards of total offense per game.
So for whoever is ultimately next at the position, may the football gods have mercy on their soul.