Panthers HC Matt Rhule throws blame at QB Cam Newton again

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The Carolina Panthers, up and down the organization in 2021, have learned how tough a business the NFL can be. And while they are grown adults who must be able to take the jabs that come along with the job, must they really come by friendly fire?

Head coach Matt Rhule doesn’t seem to mind it, at least when it’s come to quarterback Cam Newton. After oddly dissecting and placing unnecessary blame on Newton’s performance for the game prior, he reloaded and fired off another round following the 31-14 loss to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.

This time, he pointed the finger at his quarterback on a botched fourth down attempt.

“It’s a zone read play. It shouldn’t be thrown,” Rhule said as he jumped at the chance to defend the call.

On a 4th & 1 from midfield, Newton was forced to burn a throw and turn the ball over on downs. His pass, which never would’ve had a chance with Bills cornerback Levi Wallace blowing by would-be blocker Brandon Zylstra, was intended for wideout Robby Anderson.

“It’s a zone read,” Rhule went on as he defended himself and his offensive coordinator. “There’s a bubble on there in case an unblocked blitzer comes. The Mike point, we had that guy blocked. So, that’s just an error by the quarterback. That should be a handoff, first down. He pulls the ball, there’s only one guy over there. Just poor execution. But it was the right play call by Jeff [Nixon]. It’s gonna be a first down.”

Whether or not it was a mental miscue on Newton’s part, Rhule’s willingness to—again—thrust the failure on his guy is undoubtedly bad form. It’s even worse considering his long-term coddling of previous starter Sam Darnold, whose mistakes were messier and far more plentiful.

Like we’ve said, watch out for that bus, Cam.

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