Panthers owner: Coach Matt Rhule has my full support | Soccer News

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By STEVE REED – AP Sportswriter

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper lent his support to struggling head coach Matt Rhule on Wednesday, saying it takes patience and time to build a winning foundation in the NFL.

Rhule is 10-23 in his two seasons with the Panthers. Only the Lions, Texans, Jets and Jaguars have won fewer games than Carolina since Rhule arrived in 2020.

“Look, I believe in Matt and he has my full support,” Tepper said during a 30-minute video conference call with reporters on Wednesday.

Rhule is entering the third year of a seven-year, $62 million contract.

When asked if the success of the upcoming season will impact Rhule’s long-term future, Tepper replied, “It’s a new season. … There is a saying that what was then is then, and what is now is now. And we are in the now, not in the past.

Tepper’s overarching message was one of patience, emphasizing that “Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was this team.”

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He still feels like the Panthers have some solid pieces to build around the roster.

“I said five years, five years, five years from the time Coach Rhule was (hired) here, and maybe it will be six years, I don’t know, from the time he was hired,” Tepper said. “I think it’s just about building that foundation and having patience to build that foundation, and trying to get the fans to have patience for that foundation, to win sustainably.”

Tepper admitted that developing his patience has been difficult for him.

The Panthers are 22-43 since buying the team in 2018 from founder Jerry Richardson for a record $2.275 billion. Only once in the past four seasons have the Panthers won more than five games. Carolina hasn’t made the playoffs since Tepper took over.

“I have a new appreciation for how stupid I am sometimes, quite frankly,” Tepper said. “I shouldn’t say that and people are going to say afterwards, ‘why did you say that?’ But listen, it’s hard, and I have a certain humility about it.

Tepper praised the additions Rhule has made to his coaching staff this offseason, including the hiring of former NFL head coaches Steve Wilks (secondary) and Ben McAdoo (offensive coordinator) and longtime coaches Paul Pasqualoni. (defensive line) and James Campen (offensive line) as assistants.

“It brings a lot more experience than the old staff,” Tepper said. “It’s a wealth of experience.”

The biggest hurdle for Tepper and the Panthers has been finding consistency at quarterback.

Teddy Bridgewater, Kyle Allen, Sam Darnold and Cam Newton all struggled to find success in Carolina.

Darnold and PJ Walker are the only QBs currently on the roster. Tepper said he still considers Darnold a good quarterback, but said the team is “always looking” to improve.

The Panthers have the sixth pick in the NFL Draft on Thursday night and will likely have a choice of Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett, Liberty’s Malik Willis or Mississippi’s Matt Corral if they choose to take a quarterback.

Panthers general manager Scott Fitterer said on Tuesday that the team is “comfortable” in signing a quarterback, even though it’s not generally considered a solid QB class without a real star in the position. .

Tepper declined to discuss a number of other relevant topics, including the team’s unsuccessful lawsuit against controversial quarterback Deshaun Watson.

He also declined to discuss the ongoing saga with the halt to construction of the team’s half-built training facility/headquarters in Rock Hill, South Carolina, saying he was honoring the wishes of the team. city ​​officials by not participating in two-way conversations. media. He reiterated that he was ready to sit down and talk to Rock Hill town officials about funding for the $800 million project.

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