The Panthers continue to struggle, and we’re now learning of some inner turmoil within the locker room. League sources tell Aaron Wilson of ProFootballNetwork.com that “there have been increasing communication issues” between head coach Matt Rhule and offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo.
Considering the Panthers’ offensive struggles, it’s not a surprise that eyes have shifted to McAdoo. The former Giants head coach joined Carolina’s staff this offseason as offensive coordinator, replacing Joe Brady. The team’s QB situation was uncertain through much of the offseason, with the organization ultimately settling on Baker Mayfield to take over for Sam Darnold under center. Despite the underwhelming options at quarterback, the Panthers still had some top playmakers in running back Christian McCaffrey and wideout DJ Moore.
Well, things haven’t necessarily gone as planned. Through four weeks, the Panthers rank last in the NFL in plays per game (53.5) and third-down conversion rate (25.5 percent), two stats that don’t put the coaching staff in the best light. So, while McAdoo “attempts to direct an offense that is struggling” and “is working to fix what appears to be a dire situation,” he’s apparently receiving conflicting information or directives from his head coach.
“Well, when you look at it, I was brought in here to make an impact, right? And it hasn’t happened yet,” McAdoo said recently (via Wilson). “Now, that doesn’t mean we’re discouraged. We’re four games in, right? So, we got another game this week, and we’re excited at the opportunity we have this week, and we have a tremendous opponent coming in here this week.”
Things aren’t going to get easier for the Panthers this weekend, as the team faces off against a 49ers defense that’s allowed the fewest points per game this season.