Usually in May, if you’re an NFL head coach, you really aren’t worried about your job safety. Coaching changes are usually made shortly after the season so that the new coach and his staff can develop a plan on how to attack free agency, the draft, and the rest of the offseason.
A few days ago, a report surfaced from Front Office Sports that the Carolina Panthers were “targeting” former Saints coach Sean Payton for 2023. Current head coach Matt Rhule has posted back-to-back seasons of five wins and didn’t do much. progress in terms of finding a franchise quarterback. Although Rhule’s seat may look hot from the outside, team owner David Tepper hasn’t once indicated that to be true. In fact, a few weeks ago, Tepper finally offered his public support for Rhule and the work he does with the organization.
“I want to thank Matt and congratulate him on the real progress towards a winning season. I want to congratulate him on building up a new staff that brings a lot more experience than we had, including two former head coaches I think it must be He hasn’t been recognized enough in the press I believe in Matt and he has my full support.
After Friday’s rookie minicamp practice, Rhule was asked if reports like this made it harder for him to do his job.
“My job is my job. I’m going to attack it. I mean, I wish everything would go well, but I wake up when things happen and stories come out and anonymous sources say it, any adversity that happens, and I’m just saying how lucky I am to have a chance to overcome this adversity and be a better coach, person, man, father because of it. Dave called me and said it was coming and there was nothing to it I know Dave Tepper well enough to believe he wouldn’t be talking to another coach right now He’s came to my house two and a half years ago and told me it was a five-rebuild. Then he convinced me to come and be a part of it and build it with him. We’re not where we want to be. be and I don’t think it will take five years. I don’t want it to take five years, but those are the words he said to me.”
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Of course, Rhule understands that when you go from 5 to 12 in each of your first two seasons on the job, there’s a lot of heat that comes with that, especially from the fans. Winning heals everything and he thinks this team is in a much better position than it was a year ago in many ways.
“We went 5-12 last year. I can’t expect a lot of stories to be good. I’ll just say that because the people inside, when you walk in those walls every days and you’re around our players every day it’s a really good place we have more guys here who don’t have to be here no matter what the perception is outside of a man like that, it kinda looks like that, it doesn’t. We have great practices. We have coaches who go to dinner with players. We have coaches who play golf with players. We have great interaction. And you know what, sometimes when things are a bit like this on the outside, sometimes it brings people together. I coached two years with masks and COVID Like I said Dave [Tepper] told me, we have a five-year plan, we’ve been at it for two and a half years and it’s been two difficult years. I’m not making excuses for this, it’s not what we want at all, but I’m happy with where our guys are and I’m happy with where this roster is.”
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