Matt Rhule trying to cross-train coaches, be adaptable

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Panthers coach Matt Rhule has been planning to be an NFL coach for years.

Since exactly nothing has gone according to plan since he became one, he’s emphasizing the need to adjust.

That has the rookie head coach trying to stay upbeat during a pandemic which will prevent him from actually working with his team until training camp, as well as in his methods.

“I’ve coached at Temple and at Baylor, and my players will probably tell you we didn’t have a lot of advantages when we got there,” Rhule stold Peter King of NBC’s Football Morning in America. “Just figure it out. Figure it out, bro. Really, that’s the key to life.”

Of course, that was going to be the case for the Panthers anyway, as they start over practically from scratch, with a new head coach, two coordinators who lacked much NFL experience, and a roster stripped of most of its veteran talent.

So as they put things together, they’re going to have to know each other inside-out. Toward that end, Rhule has defensive coordinator Phil Snow sit in on offensive coordinator Joe Brady’s meetings, and vice versa. He’ll drop by at a moment’s notice, the kind of “walk-around coach” move he picked up from Bill Parcells. He’s also giving assistants more specific teaching points to present to the rest of the staff, mini-clinics such as tackling technique or specific route concepts against particular coverages.

“Over the years,” Rhule said, “I just felt like there was a real disconnect between how much offense the defensive coaches know, and how much defense the offensive coaches know. And so that’s just allowed me I think to be really confident as a head coach. I’m not some guru, but I do know enough about every position on the field. The ones I haven’t been an expert at, I’ve hired really good coaches there. I’ll learn from them. It’s my job as a head coach to have players play their best football when they play for me. . . .

“You can’t ask the players to learn the full game if our coaches don’t do that. I think that all comes from my background.”

Rhule’s coached linebackers, defensive line, special teams, offensive lines, quarterbacks, tight ends, and served as recruiting coordinator during his days in college, and managed a pair of impressive reclamation projects in his last two stops. So he’s used to a lot of different methods, and less-than-perfect starting points.

Which is good training for what he’s doing now.

2 responses to “Matt Rhule trying to cross-train coaches, be adaptable

  1. That is the only way to make your core strong is to cross train. He is absolutely right, how can you ask the players to do something your own coaches would not do. Besides one day those coaches will say I learned a lot by learning other coaches job while at Carolina. I am extremely glad Tepper has said it is not going to happen over night. Lets hope he does give this man an honest chance and don’t fold to the heat from the media and fans if things don’t come along as quickly as they would like it to. I am liking everything I am seeing so far that this era has done. Rhule is saying there is a train leaving either you on it or getting off make up your mind.

  2. Despite the losses of Kuechly and Olsen – significant, to be sure – the Panthers will be ahead of the game by ditching (S)Cam. If Rhule can learn quickly from his mistakes (everyone makes them, especially first year coaches with new staffs), the Panthers will set themselves up well for the future. Despite the fact that they are a division rival, I’m hoping that he is successful (except agains the Saints) – it seems like he has a good football mind.

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