The Matt Rhule era was a major disappointment for the Carolina Panthers.
Besides their never-stopping revolving door of mediocre quarterbacks, the team failed to retain that harsh defensive identity from the Ron Rivera era, and Rhule seemed over his head way more often than not.
That’s why, according to NFL insider Ian Rapoport, the Panthers are now focusing all their efforts on landing a Head Coach with actual NFL experience.
With that in mind, it seems like they’ve narrowed down their candidate list to Frank Reich, Steve Wilks — who took the reins of the team after Rhule’s firing — and Dallas Cowboys’ Offensive Coordinator Kellen Moore.
The early word is that the #Panthers will focus on an experienced HC coach if possible and Frank Reich and Steve Wilks both fit the bill. Kellen Moore also impressed, as well.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 25, 2023
Moore has been drawing league-wide attention for years now, undergoing multiple interviews but eventually settling for that OC job in Dallas over and over.
This time, however, it might as well be his chance to get an HC nod.
Frank Reich was wrongly let go by the Indianapolis Colts last season despite being a perennial contender out of the AFC South, and it’s not like it was his fault that Matt Ryan was beyond unplayable.
As for Wilks, he led the Panthers to divisional contention until the final two weeks of the seasons against all odds, so it’s evident that the players have already bought into his system and believe in him.
But then again, the Panthers will only go as far as their quarterback can take them.
And Sam Darnold is no NFL-caliber QB, at least not as a starter, and Matt Corral might still be a year or two away.