Analysis: Panthers moved on from GM. Don’t be surprised if Teddy Bridgewater is next
When it is time to look back to the years to come, 2020 is considered to be perhaps the most significant year of transition in panther history.
It began in January with the hiring of head coach Matt Rhule for a seven-year contract worth over $ 60 million and ends with the layoff of general manager Marty Hurney on Monday. In between, news faces have joined the organization both on and off the field as the franchise survives a third season without a playoff appearance. Owner David Tepper has touched every level of the organization since he bought the team in 2018, with the exception of the general manager. Until this week.
This season has always been about building for the future, and after a year of Hurney running the organization and teaching Rhule the NFL ropes, the franchise continues its shift towards the vision Tepper has of how things are should run.
In March, the Panthers signed a three-year, $ 63 million deal with Teddy Bridgewater. But as the season progresses, and as the failed game-winning or loyalty drives add up further (currently at 0-8), it becomes more certain that the transition will be a word that also applies to Bridgewater's time in Carolina.
"I think when you get into quarterbacks and NFL in general, do you always want to try to figure out, do you have the best that is currently possible?" Said Tepper when asked about his satisfaction with Bridgewater. "And that is a constant evaluation and re-evaluation of it. And we will go through that all the time."
Hurney was given the job of moving from franchise quarterback Cam Newton, who had trouble in New England that year, and then signing Bridgewater to work with an offensive coordinator in Joe Brady who had previously worked with him and was able to develop a program that suits him best. Without running back on Christian McCaffrey for at least 11 games because of an injury, Bridgewater couldn't prove he can lead the offensive if the opportunity presents itself at a constant level.
When the owner of the team says the options are to work with Bridgewater, or one of his two backups - PJ Walker and Will Grier - or someone else in the future, and that the team's needs are very obvious and the secondary and quarterback Addressing position, this is usually a sign that the guy you want to build the future around is not in the building.
"It's an ongoing process and it's a question of who the guy can be that can help you win. That's the most important position on the field," said Tepper to playoffs and super bowls, you have to keep reevaluating that because that's all that matters are super bowls. And until you have this guy, rate, rate, rate every year. "
The Panthers will bring in a new GM with lots of big decisions. They are currently in fourth place on the draft, and with two games against teams leading their divisions it seems to be within reach of staying in the top five.
It means something not to commit to quarterback 14's clear starting games in a season. Top 4 picks are hard to come by and don't come up often in the NFL. Carolina only drafted this high twice - picking Newton first in 2011 and Julius Peppers second overall in 2002. Franchise-changing selection.
Rhule and Tepper preached patience about building this team and adhering to the process. When you bring in the next CEO, you need to find someone who is in line with your vision. It also puts someone in control who has many important decisions to make, from having 20+ agents free to what to do with this design.
Tepper learned how things work in the NFL from Hurney. Don't be surprised if he takes this information now and creates a front office structure that is different from the activities of other teams in the league.
Rhule addressed the construction process as part of his zoom call on Monday night, using the home project in his background that his wife Julie is working on. It's a mess with filth right now, but it's going to be "absolutely awesome" soon.
"This is just my story where tight losses turned into tight profits and you have to keep getting better and better and that takes time, there is no shortcut for it," said Rhule. "You don't just come in and fix it quickly and cosmetically, you really have to go in and build it and so it stinks when you go through it, but when you get there on the other side it was always good me and so I hope that we get to the other side as soon as possible. "
Rhule says he has confidence in Bridgewater, 28, but reiterated Monday that he has no interest in being general manager and responsible for staff. The person who will be involved in this final decision hasn't even been interviewed for the job.
Tepper revealed that he believes the off-season quarterback position needs to be assessed. Rhule wasn't shy about criticizing Bridgewater when necessary. Making the right selection with this # 4 pick is important, but it doesn't require you to be a day 1 starter.
The luxury of the deal Bridgewater signed was that he could stay next year to take on a new quarterback and then it's easy to move on in 2022. That is exactly what the panthers should do.
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