Ron Rivera’s successor with the Carolina Panthers is out of a job.
The Panthers fired coach Matt Rhule on Monday, a day after Carolina fell to 1-4 on the season with a 37-15 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Rhule went just 11-27 in two-plus seasons in Carolina as he was unable to translate the success he had at the college level to the pros.
Carolina named passing defensive coordinator and secondary coach Steve Wilks as the Panthers‘ interim coach. Wilks served as the Panthers‘ defensive coordinator under Rivera for six seasons before leaving to coach the Arizona Cardinals in 2018. With Arizona, Wilks lasted just one season as he was fired following a 3-13 campaign. Wilks also joined former Dolphins coach Brian Flores’ racial discrimination lawsuit against the NFL in June.
This marks the second time that owner David Tepper has let a coach go in-season. He fired Rivera in December 2019 with four games left and the Panthers at 5-7, clearing the way for the coach to speak with Commanders owner Dan Snyder and eventually land the job in Washington.
Tepper said he lost patience with Rhule‘s inability to get the franchise “over the hump.”
“It’s a funny thing, that thing called patience,” Tepper said. “If you ask the average fan out there, they would think I was ridiculously patient. … I think you have to show the right amount of patience and (look at) the progress that is being made. Are we winning more? Are we progressing in different ways? In all of those situations we spoke of, it hasn’t been that.”
Under Rhule, the Panthers weren’t able to find steady quarterback play. The Panthers traded for starter Baker Mayfield in the offseason, but the former No. 1 overall pick has struggled in five starts. In Rhule‘s tenure, Carolina also relied on Teddy Bridgewater, P.J. Walker, Sam Darnold and Cam Newton — none of whom ultimately lifted the Panthers to contending status.
This article is based in part on wire service reports.