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Matt Rhule’s list of offensive coordinator candidates doesn’t inspire confidence

In either his or the Panthers future. . . there isn’t a lot of good news right now.

Minnesota Vikings v Detroit Lions Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

It was the quote heard ‘round the Panthers world this week. “I know it’s put out there that he’s safe,” Jay Glazer said on Fox NFL Sunday. “Not so fast. Matt Rhule has to hire a rock star offensive coordinator for him to actually save his job.” Since then, Carolina has been connected to a long list of current and former NFL coaches. It is not an encouraging one for Rhule’s future.

The latest coach connected to the search is former Vikings offensive coordinator Klint Kubiak, who Minnesota fans seem quite happy to send off. The rest of the list contains a series of more nepotistic retreads, unproven assistants, or longtime coaches that have never sustained success. Only one candidate, Los Angeles Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell, is currently or recently associated with a successful team. The problem for Rhule is that is not surprising. He is quite publicly on the hot seat as a coach. He won’t be able to attract actual top talent into making an at-best lateral move (for coaches who have play-calling/head coaching experience) to a team with as uncertain a future as the Carolina Panthers have.

In part, the lack of buzz around coaches from playoff teams is because those coaches are busy right now preparing for the playoffs. That puts the team in an awkward position going forward. If Rhule is turned down by “rock star” candidates after the playoffs then that puts the team behind the rest of the league in seeking his replacement.

Most of the current hot candidates for coordinator jobs are also more rising stars than experienced hands. That includes the likes of Buffalo Bills quarterbacks coach and passing coordinator Ken Dorsey or Mike Kafka (who holds the same position in Kansas City). An additional problem connecting them to the Panthers is that they are also likely to be candidates to follow newly hired head coaches to the Vikings, Giants, Dolphins, or Bears.

Who would you rather go work for, a coach who has been publicly told he is on his last chance (and scapegoated his last offensive coordinator, or a new coach who is being given a fresh start?

Whether it is the guys being talked to now or the coaches that Rhule can’t contact for a few weeks, the odds of landing a candidate that can save Rhule’s job, per Glazer’s reporting, seem longer and longer. Assuming Rhule is given the chance to hire somebody, that body will tell us a lot about what the Panthers are committed to this season: winning, trading for Deshaun Watson, or platitudes.