Update: The Panthers will elevate secondary coach Steve Wilks as interim head coach. Wilks had one season as head coach of the Arizona Cardinals in 2018.
The Carolina Panthers fell to 1-4 after a blowout, 17-35 loss, at home to the San Francisco 49ers. That loss pushed Rhule’s overall record to 11-27, now in his third season. It was finally too much, as owner David Tepper has let Rhule go, as reported by Adam Schefter.
There was plenty lacking from this Panthers team, giving Rhule an uphill battle, but there weren’t enough positives. Even when taking into account the poor quarterback play, Rhule just didn’t do enough to elevate his team across the board. When you see Bailey Zappe come in for Bill Belichick and the Patriots and put together solid games, it’s hard to give Rhule much leeway.
Rhule had Teddy Bridgewater, P.J. Walker, Sam Darnold, the ghost of Cam Newton, and Baker Mayfield as his team’s starting quarterbacks for his less than three year tenure. But, he had almost three years of good draft picks that didn’t move the team forward enough.
Sacking Rhule at this early point in the season also makes it easier to get a buyout of Rhule’s contract if he is hired by a college team, per Pro Football Talk. If they had waited, many of the choice college jobs could be taken and the buyout money wouldn’t be there for Tepper and the Panthers organization.
The Panthers are in full tank mode, which doesn’t mean they stop trying of course, but they just don’t have the team and QB to consistently stay in games. It would likely behoove them to trade away some older assets for draft picks, so there is a chance we see Christian McCaffrey’s name pop up in trade rumors moving forward.