Like I would assume was the case for many of you, when I found out the Carolina Panthers were hiring Ben McAdoo to be offensive coordinator, my first reaction was that of apathy. Not necessarily that I didn’t have feelings on the hire, but more so, general hangover from a disappointing season where the Panthers certainly did not feel like they took a step forward under second year head coach Matt Rhule.
This author’s opinion is that Matt Rhule should have been fired for a lack of progress in his second year of the rebuild, and that the reason he wasn’t is that David Tepper simply invested too much money in him to not give him another year. The Panthers were at least a three year project going in, but I feel a prerequisite of that deal is growth. I didn’t feel any growth this year. Did things break the opposite of “our way” this year? They did. Were there easy to spot issues going into the season that were ignored? Oh yeah.
Now that I got that out, it’s time to face the music. Matt Rhule is hiring a new staff for next season, which means the team has decided to stick with him. In that frame of mind, while I am not jumping up and down about Ben McAdoo, I do think it addresses one major problem with Rhule’s tenure, and that has been an extremely detrimental reliance on people with no, or little, NFL experience.
McAdoo was not a successful head coach, but before getting his requisite shot at that, he was a pretty good offensive coordinator and offensive assistant generally... which is why he got the shot. If nothing else, other than his head coaching stint for the Giants, he’s been involved in successful offenses in the NFL every year since 2004 with just a couple exceptions. He did take over as offensive coordinator for a New York Giants team that was 28th in scoring when he entered, and sixth when he got promoted to head coach after two years. That didn’t work out, but for the same reason not all chefs make good restaurant owners. Your recipes can be great, but the additional juggling and administration required is what sinks them.
To me, his fifteen or so years of NFL experience is more important than anything for this Panthers squad. Routinely bombing in the third quarter is not normal every week behavior. I think that the fact we were getting our pants beaten off after halftime is a lack of experience and ability to think how another NFL coordinator would think and counter it ahead of time.
So no, this is not the “rockstar” hire people were wanting. But I challenge you to sell this offense as currently constructed to a rock star and get him to sign on the dotted line. I think hiring Ben McAdoo is an improvement, and if the Panthers can make better offseason personnel decisions on offense, and continue to bring in NFL experience on the coaching staff, we could see significant improvement next year.