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Matt Rhule Dan Orlovsky

(Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports)

Matt Rhule disagrees with Dan Orlovsky calling out Panthers offense

Matt Rhule Dan Orlovsky
(Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports)

Matt Rhule disagrees with Dan Orlovsky calling out Panthers offense

On Thursday, former NFL quarterback and current ESPN NFL analyst Dan Orlovsky picked apart Carolina Panthers — called by head coach Matt Rhule — limb-by-limb from Week 2 against the New York Giants during an NFL Live segment.

Orlovsky even went as far as labeling it “coaching malpractice” and that Panthers fans should be “sending this to the Panthers organization” to get fixed. He looked at film, particularly citing the predictability of whether a play would be a pass/RPO or a run based on star running back Christian McCaffrey’s alignment in the shotgun.

Anywho, whoever messaged it to the Panthers — if someone did — good job! Because Rhule saw it. And he wasn’t too fond of it. Here was his response during Friday’s weekly press conference:

“It’s pretty balanced,” Rhule said. “If you’re saying that they knew whether we were running or passing (against the Giants), I would say, ‘How come we ran for 146 yards and 6.3 yards per carry?’. . .

“I respect Dan. I understand he has a job to do. He’s trying to get people to watch and pay attention. The real football coach, the defensive coach in me, spends a lot of time on defense, watching other people’s back sets. Saying if you know it’s a run or pass or not, every play in the National Football league is a run or pass. We might say this is a 70 percent run in this formation. Still a 30 percent pass. We have to react to those things.”

Full quotes here:

Rhule’s not wrong in the sense that McCaffrey totaled 146 rushing yards through two games — including 102 in Week 2, a significant improvement on his 33 rushing yards in Week 1. But that’s also the root of the issue Orlovsky seems to be getting at — imagine how many more (rushing) yards McCaffrey, one of the most dynamic running backs in the NFL, would have if the play wasn’t supposedly tipped beforehand?

“We’re at a time right now where people are going to take shots. I get it,” Rhule said. “Our most explosive pass play happened from that. I kind of take it and say, ‘Got it; move on.’ I think we’re doing a lot of good things. The real story this week is winning third down and completing some more balls.”

The Panthers have converted on only six of their 23 third downs — a 26.1 percent clip, the fourth-worst mark in the NFL — and have completed only 53.6 percent of their passes with Baker Mayfield behind center, which ranks tied for dead last.

I don’t have access to All-22, but if the issue is as bad as Orlovsky is making it out to be — perhaps Rhule putting McCaffrey in better positions would help both of those two aforementioned numbers. It’s going to be even tougher this upcoming week against the New Orleans Saints, one of the top defenses in the NFC.

I’m sure it’ll be something that every Panthers’ opponent monitors for the rest of the season, too.

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