Carolina Panthers: Matt Rhule Had Three Bright Spots in Year 1

Despite missing the playoffs this season, Matt Rhule and the Carolina Panthers have to be pleased with how the 2020 season played out.

Yes, they still have to host the New Orleans Saints in Week 17 on Sunday, but let’s stop this dance and dive into the recap of Carolina’s season.

First-year NFL head coach Matt Rhule looks as if he knows how to coach in the league and the Panthers looked exciting from time to time.

Joe Brady came over from the defending champion LSU Tigers in order to be the offensive coordinator for Rhule and the Panthers.

Teddy Bridgewater was a solid starting QB after signing a three-year deal this past offseason as he departed New Orleans.

Let’s look at three positive takeaways from the 2020 campaign.

Carolina D

Matt Rhule and Carolina only selected defensive players in the 2020 NFL Draft.

The Panthers’ defense was not perfect but for the most part, it helped keep the team in most of their games this year.

Rookie linebacker Jeremy Chinn leads Carolina in tackles with 110.

Notable seasons by non-rookies include Efe Obada (4.5 sacks), Brian Burns (9 sacks), and Shaq Thompson (103 tackles).

Carolina also got three interceptions from corner Donte Jackson.

Two weeks ago, the Panthers held Green Bay to three points in the second half, but ultimately lost, 24-16.

Carolina also held Patrick Mahomes and Kansas City to just 13 points in the first half and only allowed them to score seven in the third quarter.

Unfortunately, for Carolina fans, they would go on to fall to the Chiefs, 33-31.

Moore to Come

It was interesting to see how different Panther players stepped up on offense for Matt Rhule, Brady, and Bridgewater this season.

DJ Moore led the Panthers in receiving yards in most of their games this year.

He recorded almost 1,100 yards and four touchdowns before Week 17.

The third-year player out of Maryland was targeted 10 times in the win over Washington last week but only had 37 yards.

Moore did have 131 yards versus Green Bay’s defense.

With running back Christian McCaffrey expected to miss Sunday’s game against the Saints, that means the 24-year-old would have only played in three games in 2020.

Mike Davis filled in nicely when C-Mac missed time this year and collected 642 rushing yards on 165 carries while adding six touchdowns.

Davis also caught 59 passes for 373 yards and two scores. He will miss Carolina’s season finale as well.

Teddy Time

I’m not a fan of Teddy Bridgewater as the Panthers starting QB for the long-term future, but he’s alright for the short-term.

Teddy has thrown for nearly 3,600 yards in his first year as a full-time starter since his days in Minnesota.

He also has completed about 70 percent of his throws and he has 15 touchdowns and nin picks so far this season.

Teddy was sacked 30 times, which is not bad at all.

Matt Rhule and Carolina did make it a point to protect their QB by bringing in Russell Okung and others.

The Carolina Panthers are third in the NFC South and are 5-10.

What did you make of Matt Rhule’s first season in Carolina? Leave a comment below.

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Follow Fiuza on Twitter @MakinItBig1

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