The writing was on the wall for former Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator Joe Brady.
Even a change at quarterback did not do well for the NFC South squad.
Cam Newton’s return provided a quick dose of inspiration to save their season.
But after his performance against the Arizona Cardinals, he has done close to nothing.
The @Panthers are a good team
They’ll struggle to beat anyone in NFL when:
-OL has 7 plays where a free runner on the defense comes unblocked in pass pro
-they have 6 drops
-fumble the ball 2X on your side of the field
The little becomes the big
— Dan Orlovsky (@danorlovsky7) October 20, 2021
Worst, the Panthers have won two of their last nine games after starting the season with three straight victories.
During their last six games, Carolina averaged just 15.5 points per game.
The victory over Arizona was the only game they went past the 30-point mark.
However, it seems like Brady’s firing is just the beginning.
More heads will roll, and head coach Matt Rhule will be one of the casualties.
No Hint Of Improvement
The Panthers hoped that Rhule could do in the NFL the transformation he did with the Baylor Bears.
From a 1-11 record in 2017, the Texas-based school finished 6-6 in 2018 and 11-1 in 2019.
During his last year at Baylor, his record was enough to merit Big 12 Coach of the Year honors.
That volume of work had the Panthers calling, even if the Bears never defeated a ranked team during his tenure.
Unfortunately, Carolina finished third in the NFC South with a 5-11 record during his first year on the job.
#Panthers HC Matt Rhule says he planned on meeting with Joe Brady Saturday but he wasn't available, and sat down with him Sunday to inform him of the decision to fire him.
— Nick Carboni (@NickCarboniWCNC) December 6, 2021
But the Panthers faithful had a sense of optimism in Rhule’s second year, especially with Christian McCaffrey returning.
Initially, those wishes became a reality when the expansion franchise became one of the hottest teams to start the 2021 season.
Yet the good times didn’t last as they struggled after McCaffrey suffered another injury.
They lost four in a row before getting a much-needed win versus division rival Atlanta Falcons.
Sadly, their bad fortunes continued after that game by losing three of their last four games.
I don’t think any of this is happening. Matt Rhule you are next. pic.twitter.com/jEukjtsmsy
— Chris Cawley (@ChrisCawley) December 7, 2021
The Panthers regressed when they should have developed more avenues to victory beyond McCaffrey.
Instead, they fell when their versatile running back went inactive.
Likewise, the struggles at quarterback aren’t limited to Sam Darnold.
After taking over the reins, Newton had 189 passing yards against the Washington Football Team and 92 versus the Miami Dolphins.
Carolina lost both games, and the former league MVP got replaced by P.J. Walker after completing only five passes against Miami.
Matt Rhule was hired prior to the 2020 season.
With news that Christian McCaffrey is done for the year, he will have started and finished just 6 of Rhule's first 33 games as a head coach.
A frustrating two years for CMC.
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) November 29, 2021
While it’s the players who execute the playbook, it’s the coach’s job to put them in a position to win.
Therefore, the Panthers’ bad fortune reflects poorly on Rhule, and the downfall might not end soon.
Tough Schedule Ahead For Carolina
The Panthers are in for more misery because they will be facing solid opponents during their last five games.
Next week, they will face the Falcons, which could be their best chance of winning.
After that showdown are games versus the Buffalo Bills, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers twice.
Carolina has one game left against a New Orleans Saints team that might have Alvin Kamara back.
Last January, Joe Brady had five NFL head coaching interviews. But the #Panthers have been one of the NFL's least-productive offenses two years in a row and there were signs Brady and Matt Rhule weren't on the same page. Big changes coming off the bye with Brady out.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) December 5, 2021
The odds are not looking good for Rhule to end his second season with the Panthers on a positive note.
He would need four wins to at least secure a winning campaign.
But that would be a tall order given the quality of their remaining opposition.
Rhule’s chances of getting the boot are also turning for the worst with each passing loss.