Report: Panthers plan to keep Rhule for 2022 season

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The Carolina Panthers plan to keep head coach Matt Rhule for the 2022 season, sources told ESPN's Jeremy Fowler.

The 46-year-old has led Carolina to a 10-22 record in two seasons.

Panthers owner David Tepper hired Rhule on a seven-year, $62-million contract in 2020 after the coach transformed both Baylor's and Temple's fortunes in the college ranks.

Rhule dismissed offensive coordinator Joe Brady on Dec. 5, replacing him with offensive assistant Jeff Nixon for the campaign's final five contests. The team will begin a thorough search for a permanent replacement next week, Fowler reports.

Carolina has struggled to find a franchise quarterback, despite acquiring Sam Darnold via trade and bringing Cam Newton back for a second stint on Nov. 11. Newton is 0-5 in the five games he started.

The team's also dealt with key injuries, losing star running back Christian McCaffrey in each of the past two campaigns.

The Panthers haven't qualified for the playoffs or posted a winning season since 2017.

Rhule had a 5-11 record in his debut campaign in Carolina, including nine defeats in the final 11 games.

Despite the lack of success, the coach still has key players' support.

"I don't think the locker room is lost - at all," linebacker Shaq Thompson said, according to ESPN's David Newton. "People may be frustrated. Anybody would be frustrated going on a losing streak. But these guys right here, we're going to stick together and fight, regardless."

Rhule believes his team is on the brink of a breakthrough.

"From where we started at to where we are now, there's a lot of good things happening," he said. "Just the results aren't where it needs to be. That's what people should be frustrated at, but I believe it's coming."

The Panthers are on a seven-game losing streak ahead of their regular-season finale against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Report: Panthers plan to keep Rhule for 2022 season
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