Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule isn’t going down without a fight—at least down to assertions that his team is laughably predictable.
On yesterday’s episode of NFL Live, former NFL quarterback and current ESPN analyst Dan Orlovsky ripped apart the Carolina offense—even throwing around the terms “unacceptable” and “coaching malpractice.” While breaking down a few plays from the Panthers in Week 2, he claimed the unit was telegraphing their plays based off the positioning of running back Christian McCaffrey in shotgun formations.
Rhule responded to the criticism after Friday’s practice—stating that Orlovsky was, well, wrong.
“Yeah, I saw Dan’s thing,” Rhule said of the unflattering segment. “I’ve been around long enough. I’ve seen enough coaches get out there and say, ‘Every time they do this, they’re going to do this.’ And then it’s wrong. I disagree with it.
“For us, when we put Christian at depth, we are kinda getting into a run set. From that—we either run it, we zone read it, we RPO it, we run it to the left, we run it to the same side run. Our biggest pass play was from that backfield set, that we play action off of it. So if you tell me that we line up in a formation and we run it, we throw and we play action from there, it’s pretty balanced.”
Orlovsky noted that whenever McCaffrey was stationed behind quarterback Baker Mayfield, a run was coming. And whenever he was parallel to Mayfield, it’d be a pass.
But, uh, that wasn’t always the case last Sunday . . .
Here is a Panthers play-action pass where CMC is lined up one yard behind Baker Mayfield in the shotgun. This is not a run or an RPO pic.twitter.com/bKxvNdT4Ad
— Ellis L. Williams (@BookofEllis) September 22, 2022
CMC offset, yard behind Mayfield. pic.twitter.com/4VUunvmOvC
— John Ellis (@1PantherPlace) September 22, 2022
Well played, Rhule. Well played.