What would Matt Rhule have done differently? “Probably taken another job”

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Former Panthers coach Matt Rhule isn’t upset. Or so he says.

He says other things that suggest otherwise.

Now that Rhule has an eight-year contract with Nebraska and no immediate (or long-term) plans to return to the NFL, Rhule has opted for candor, even if it’s tainted by revisionist history, regarding his time with the Panthers.

Asked during an appearance on The Season with Peter Schrager what Rhule would have done differently, he was blunt.

“I think I probably would just probably [have] taken another job,” Rhule said. “It’s a great place. Wonderful people. But I just don’t know if I was a fit there. You know, at the end of the day, you know, we talked about, ‘Hey, we’re gonna have a four-year plan, a five-year plan.’ You know, if you tell me, ‘Hey, we got a two-year plan,’ then I’m gonna go sign a bunch of free agents and do it. So what was a four-year plan became a two-year-and-five-game plan real quick.”

So, in other words, Rhule would have done better sooner if he knew he was expected to do better sooner.

“I’m not angry about it,” Rhule added. “At the end of the day, I understand. But if it’s gonna be that quick, then we’re gonna sign some more free agents, we’re gonna go make the blockbuster trade, we’re gonna do those things. I think the trajectory we were on was correct.”

It’s not like they didn’t try to make a blockbuster trade. They wanted Deshaun Watson. He didn’t want them. No accomplished veteran quarterback with options has opted for the Panthers.

Maybe it was Rhule that caused them to shy away. Maybe it was owner David Tepper. Maybe it was something else.

Regardless, Rhule’s comments ring hollow. There are no four- or five-year plans in the NFL, and the Panthers were indeed trying to get the difference makers that would help them win now. They just couldn’t make it happen.

The more likely truth is that Rhule opted not for the security of a supposed four- or five-year plan but for the money that Tepper was paying. The Giants, who also wanted Rhule, wouldn’t even consider matching the seven-year, $62 million package that Tepper gave Rhule.

That’s ultimately what got Rhule to take the job. Maybe he regrets prioritizing money over the potential for winning. Maybe he regrets working for Tepper, who seems to be inclined to meddle more than most owners.

Regardless, the idea that Rhule regrets taking the job because he thought he’d get four or five years to show real progress is hard to swallow, given that the NFL no longer works this way — and hasn’t for decades.

39 responses to “What would Matt Rhule have done differently? “Probably taken another job”

  1. If he thought he was getting 5 years to build a winner in the NFL, he’s too naïve for this world.

  2. I don’t know if there should be high expectations on a guy that is expected to retread Bridgewater, Darnold and then Mayfield.

    The GM should have jettisoned the team for a solid rebuild back in 2020.

  3. Rhule makes sense.

    If you want to build a team that will be good for years, you do it through the draft by getting a lot of good, young players. If you wantto win now and risk the future, you take a risk and buy free agents. It worked for the Rams…for one year.

  4. Seems to me there are a lot of very successful year in year out competitive teams (Stealers, Pats, GB, Dallas, etc.) that are always looking 4-5 years down the road. Yes they make changes every year but they tinker not blow up and restart.

    It also seems to me that teams that DO blow up key positions and restart every 2-3 years (Browns, Panthers, Washington, Lions, etc) are pretty consistent basement dwellers.

    Thanks to TV the money is guaranteed. An NFL team does NOT have to be successful to be obscenely profitable. So they only things we are talking about is getting to the playoffs and maybe the SB (both monetary icing on the cake) AND the owners egos.

    And it is EGO which makes bad owners be impatient and make hasty bad decision after bad decision after bad decision.

    Patience is a stellar virtue … owners should have more of it.

  5. Jimmy Johnson was 14-28 in his first 42 games including 6-5 in year 3 and he had the Hershel Walker trade (he lived in Texas at the time, LOL) and a HoF QB there for him as a #1 pick. This does not mean Rhule is a good coach but the idea of building up a bad team over years is not advanced science.

  6. I agree w the exception of Watson not “picking” the Panthers. The Browns gave him a ridiculous contract and thats why he is in. Cleveland

  7. “There are no four- or five-year plans in the NFL“

    While I agree, I think there is one exception to this. The Detroit Lions pretty much have said Campbell/Holmes are in a “full rebuild” that would take at least 4 yrs. So, we will see how that experiment works. I am not a Lions Fan, but I am hoping they finally get something going. One of the most passionate fan bases when you factor in the product/performance on the field they have had to endure. Those fans deserve some good fortune for a change.

  8. A four or five year plan still has milestones you must hit and show progress across all the phases of the game. Players have to buy in.

    You couldn’t get productivity out of ANY of the QBs you had and you didn’t create a culture where people wanted to come and play for you, Mr. Rhule.

    By year 3 you know where this is all going. And it wasn’t “UP”.

  9. This instant gratification mentality doesn’t work in the NFL. Unfortunately, too many owners are too dumb to realize this!

  10. A few years ago the giants wouldn’t have been considered a better job. I don’t think first time HCs can be as picky. Few can afford to holdout for a better job. You have to establish yourself as a good HC first; like Sean Payton. He knows better than to coach a team without a QB and he has the reputation to wait for an ideal spot to open up.

  11. He got paid, he shouldn’t whine about it. We are heading into a recession where average people are wondering how they will feed their families. No one wants to hear someone who is set for life complain.

  12. They never made a real effort at addressing QB and that was obviously his downfall. Teddy was the best QB they’ve had in quite a few years and that’s not saying much at all.

  13. Incredible the amount of money some of these owners pay for coaches with absolutely no track record of winning at the pro level. This know-nothing has made more money coaching with just one contract than many NFL players will make in their entire career.

  14. Going from one of the best owners in the NFL to one of the worst will be quite a wakeup call to the relatively new franchise/pro sports town. Remember the Bobcats era?

  15. How does this barely of 500 career coach get a 6 year contract followed by an Eight year contract. Where does Anything suggest either was deserved. Just a joke

  16. This guy Tepper is the next jerk owner. Move over Synder. Don’t forget had a great coach Ron Rivera. Look at Ron now. Look at Tepper. He knew better. He screwed over the town on the practice facility. The next coach will fail and so will future coaches. Carolina Panthers have a bleak future.

  17. He may have lasted longer if any of his ‘plans’ had actually started coming together. An NFL HC needs five years just to reach a level of being even somewhat ‘competitive’? I’m sure there’s plenty to see behind the curtain that contributed to his lack of success, but to say he thought they were trending in the right direction falls flat to me. The Panthers have looked far more competitive since his departure and its only been a few weeks, not 5 years.

  18. Switching out your quarterbacks literally every year is not a good five year, three year, or two year plan. Enough with the excuses Rhule.

  19. None of us knows what happened behind closed doors but if there was a 4 or 5yr plan then Tepper should have allowed the plan to be worked through firing Rhule if/after it failed. And if that’s the case then what Rhule is saying isn’t hollow, it’s just factual. Frankly the truth probably lies somewhere between “win now” and “win in 4 years”.

  20. The Lions made it pretty clear they were willing to build through the draft and stay the course. You don’t see too many six year contracts in the NFL. Brad Holmes has done a fantastic job finding talent in the draft. They’re young and make mistakes, but they’re trending in the right direction.

  21. No job gives you 4 or 5 years to see if things work. You see coaches getting fired after 1 season. Even at Mcdonalds, if you can’t flip burgers after a few days, your done

  22. Miami is in the midst of their 8th consecutive five-year plan. Hopefully, they’re finally on to something……..

  23. His QB situation is what killed his nfl run. Maybe 2 or 3 coaches in history could win with the QBs he has had.

  24. I regret the Panthers swapped out Teddy for Sam and then swapped out Sam for Baker meanwhile Justin Fields is a Bear. Thanks Matt Rhule you tool.

  25. Rhule was 47 – 43 in college. Bolted after basically one good year at Temple then Baylor. He was who we thought he was.

  26. Why did the owner give him a seven year contract if he only had a two-year long leash? I think it’s understandable that he thought the owner would have more patience given the length of contract.

    There are teams that ARE patient, such as the Steelers, so it’s not impossible that Rhule thought the words he was hearing from Tepper supported a longer groth plan.

  27. The Bills are a great example of having a long term plan. They were perennial losers and then they chose to give Beane an McDermott time to rebuild. It too four or five years of establishing the culture and finding the right players for their scheme and to have the QB develop, now they are set up to make a run at it for the next five years or so. Slow and steady wins the race ever since Aesop’s time.

  28. Four years? The only coach I’ve ever seen make that quick of a full rebuild was Jimmy Johnson. And that was pre-salary cap.

  29. Tepper signed him to a 7? Year deal so I buy the 4-5 year target. You can’t put any weight in Teppers words

  30. nfl1920 says:
    November 30, 2022 at 12:30 pm
    This guy Tepper is the next jerk owner. Move over Synder. Don’t forget had a great coach Ron Rivera. Look at Ron now. Look at Tepper. He knew better. He screwed over the town on the practice facility. The next coach will fail and so will future coaches. Carolina Panthers have a bleak future.


    Ron is a 500 winning coach over his career. He is below average and has never won anything. If not for two years of his career with Cam (when Cam could still run), he would have a losing record. One of the most overrated coaches in the NFL and he is doing the same in Washington. Does just well enough to not get fired but will forever be average if lucky.

  31. Have to laugh at all the “Yeah, but look at his QB’s” comments. Bridgewater and Darnold were 100% Matt Rhule moves.

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