Bravvion Roy

Panthers Reworking Staff

Panthers head coach Matt Rhule has had some difficulties making the same immediate impact in Carolina that gained him notoriety in Waco. In two years at the helm, Rhule hasn’t succeeded in improving his team’s win total from the season before he was hired. In an attempt to make some needed improvements, the Panthers announced that they were letting go of offensive line coach Pat Meyer, defensive line coach Frank Okam, and special teams coordinator Chase Blackburn.

The team struggled on both sides of the line this year and it looks like any attempts to improve will be made by new position coaches, while the special teams unit saw four different kickers and three punters throughout the year, including the preseason.

Meyer has been with Rhule since the move to Carolina. He’s been coaching in the NFL for 8 years with stops at the Chargers, Bills, and Bears. Meyer entered the NFL with Marc Trestman, moving with the coach from the CFL to Chicago.

Okam joined Rhule at Baylor and followed the notably loyal coach to the Panthers. Rhule had brought much of his staff from Temple with him to Baylor, so it was safe to assume some of the Baylor staff would end up in Carolina, as well. Despite coaching up young draft picks like Derrick Brown, Yetur Gross-Matos, and Bravvion Roy and seeing career numbers from Brian Burns, Efe Obada, and Marquis Haynes, it seems Rhule is wanting a bit more from this position group.

Chase Blackburn was a longtime linebacker for the Giants before spending his final two years playing in Carolina. After about a year of retirement from playing, Blackburn became a special teams intern in Ron Rivera‘s staff. When Rhule came in to replace Rivera, Blackburn was one of two holdovers from the staff along with Jake Peetz, who is now the offensive coordinator at LSU.

It’s yet to be seen who will replace them, but Rhule continues to show hints of what made him successful at the college level by attempting to make the necessary changes to succeed. With young talent on both sides of the ball, Rhule may yet turn this team around.

Panthers Wrap Draft Class

The Panthers have signed their entire 2020 NFL Draft class, per a club announcement. First-round pick Derrick Brown got the party started in the spring, but the rest waited until this week to put pen to paper. The full rundown:

1-7: Derrick Brown, DT (Auburn): Signed
2-38: Yetur Gross-Matos, DE (Penn State): Signed
2-64: Jeremy Chinn, DB (Southern Illinois): Signed
4-113: Troy Pride Jr., CB (Notre Dame): Signed
5-152: Kenny Robinson, S (West Virginia): Signed
6-184: Bravvion Roy, DT (Baylor): Signed
7-221: Stantley Thomas-Oliver III, CB (Florida International): Signed

Gross-Matos stood out with 17.5 sacks and 37 hurries over the last two seasons, plus solid work against the run. On the flipside, some evaluators had concerns about his bulk. He’ll have to put some more muscle on his 6’5″, 265-pound frame in order to be a reliable three-down defensive lineman.

On the other side of the ball, the Panthers say they’ll be hanging on to wide receiver Curtis Samuel, despite an offseason full of trade rumors.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.