It’s unclear whether it was planned or inadvertent. Regardless, the Carolina Panthers have found a brand new place to dump bad news.
Forget about the late-afternoon hours on a Friday. With the NFL constantly offering up a fresh collection of bright, shiny objects during football season, why not pull the sheet off a piece of bad news while everyone is paying attention to those objects that are shining brightly?
The Panthers waited until 20 minutes after the start of the early games in Week 13 to announce the firing of offensive coordinator Joe Brady. It caused the move to not get the attention and scrutiny it otherwise would have received if it had happened, for example, last Monday morning, with 13 days until the next game.
That’s the most confusing aspect of the move. It happened halfway into the team’s annual two-week playing break. Unless the decision was made and not announced early last week, if gives Jeff Nixon less time to prepare to take over the offense than he would have had.
Regardless, it’s a sign of dysfunction in Charlotte, and it invites speculation as to what will come next. Some think that coach Matt Rhule already is on borrowed time. Maybe Rhule needs to string together some wins to keep that from happening.
And while the buyout would be significant, owner David Tepper doesn’t seem to be someone who prolongs a situation once he knows it has gone south. From dumping Teddy Bridgewater after his first year to essentially dumping Sam Darnold during his first year, Tepper falls in and out of love quickly — and he doesn’t wait to file for divorce. If Tepper has concluded that Rhule isn’t who Tepper thought he’d be and if Tepper thinks he can get an upgrade, he’ll do it. Whatever it costs, whatever it takes. He’ll do it.
He has said that the NFL is set up for every team to go .500, and that bending mediocrity in a given franchise’s advantage hinges on having a great coach, G.M., and quarterback. If Tepper has already concluded that Rhule belongs in the “not great” category, it’s just a matter of time before he’s in the “not employed” category, too.