Since deciding to move on from the Ron Rivera era earlier this month, the Panthers have been able to get a head start on their head coaching search and identify a number of candidates for their vacancy, including an interview with at least one college head coach who is among the hottest names on the coaching market this off season.
Interim Panthers head coach Perry Fewell will get an interview, and multiple reports share that the organization would also like to interview Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. Ian Rapoport shares that they've also sat down with former Packers head coach Mike McCarthy twice so far, and adds that Chiefs head coach Eric Bieniemy should get a look as well.
The Panthers also reportedly reached out to interview Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald, but Fitz declined the opportunity to interview.
Earlier this month, Rhule laid out what an NFL opportunity would have to look like for him to leave the program he has rebuilt in Waco.
From that article a few weeks ago based on Rhule's conversation on the Adam Schefter Podcast:
“I think A) you need to have a quarterback, and B) you need to have alignment.”
“I don’t think that I would ever want to see myself or any coach in a situation where you’re just subcontracted out for you X’s and O’s knowledge. The teams that have won in college football, the Nick Saban’s the Dabo Swinney’s – and the people that win in pro football in the Mike Tomlin’s and Bill Belichick’s, they run a complete and total program. And everybody, they have different responsibilities, but everybody’s aligned to the same vision.”
Do the Panthers check those boxes for Rhule? Only time will tell. The past two coaches (Rivera and John Fox) each got nine season to get things rolling. The franchise has had just four head coaches since 1995, so it would certainly seem like one of the few NFL franchises today that gives coaches the time to both align with ownership and build a winner. As for the quarterback piece, there is a lot of talk about whether Cam Newton is the right choice for the future direction of the franchise as he recovers from injury, so that piece is up in the air.
With the NFL regular season ending today, things are really set to get rolling with the coaching carousel, and the Panthers should be among the first to fill their opening.
Stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest coaching change job information.