Panthers: Matt Rhule mocked for ridiculous statement

Panthers, Matt Rhule. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
Panthers, Matt Rhule. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports /

Baker Mayfield hit Rashard Higgins for a 50-yard touchdown but Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule punished the team for how Higgins crossed the goal line

The Carolina Panthers had a brief moment on Saturday where they were able to celebrate. But then, Matt Rhule decided to step in and ruin things.

After Baker Mayfield hit Rashard Higgins for a beautiful 50-yard touchdown pass, Rhule called the offense to the side and made them run as a punishment. But the punishment wasn’t due to Higgins doing his “red carpet” celebration that drew a taunting penalty.

It was actually the way Higgins scored. Specifically, Rhule was unhappy he reached the ball across the goal line.

Rhule tried to spin this as teaching the offense to protect the ball. But if you listened to that explanation and thought it came across as him being out of touch, then you’re not alone.

Former NFL wide receiver Andrew Hawkins ripped Rhule for his explanation while pointing out that he has a record of 10-23 as a head coach. Perhaps the approach is the reason for this record.

Hawkins wasn’t alone as Andrew Whitworth — who knows a thing or two about winning since he was on the Rams team that just secured the Lombardi Trophy — had to get his laughs in at the expense of Rhule.

Even those who cover other teams found it interesting. Daryl Ruiter of 92.3 The Fan in Cleveland called Rhule the “president of the No Fun League.” And Clarence Hill, Jr. who covers the Cowboys also pointed out that Rhule’s words made it appear he’s against fun.

One of the better comments came from Jeff Lowe, who admits he wouldn’t succeed as a football coach but still knows punishing scoring isn’t the right approach.

Matt Rhule on the hot seat, Carolina Panthers future in doubt

Rhule is entering his third season as Carolina’s coach and so far, things haven’t been going well. Not only are they not winning, but they aren’t showing much improvement at all.

It’s hard to point the finger at anyone other than Rhule, who continues to approach the NFL as though he’s a college coach. He’s forcing competition that doesn’t need to be there including having Baker Mayfield battle Sam Darnold despite it being clear that Mayfield is the better player.

He also refuses to name Ikem Ekwonu the starter at left tackle despite him being the sixth overall pick — and despite the fact that their line was a disaster last season.

Rhule could be a good coach but he will continue to struggle in the NFL if he keeps approaching the game as if he’s still at Baylor.

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