Yetur Gross-Matos

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.

NFL COVID-19 List Updates: 1/4/22-1/5/22

Here are Tuesday and Wednesday’s activations from and placements on the reserve/COVID-19 lists:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: TE Jared Cook, LB Damon Lloyd (remains on IR)

Minnesota Vikings

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/30/20

We’ll post all the minor moves from what has been a very busy Monday here:

Arizona Cardinals

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Cleveland Browns

Denver Broncos

Green Bay Packers

New England Patriots

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

 

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/7/20

Here are Saturday’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New York Giants

Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/16/20

Here are Friday’s minor moves:

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Detroit Lions

  • Placed on IR: TE Hunter Bryant

New York Giants

Philadelphia Eagles

  • Placed on reserve/COVID-19 list: OL Matt Pryor; Pryor did not test positive for the coronavirus, Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets

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.

NFL Draft Rumors: Falcons, Steelers, Cowboys

The Falcons could be the most aggressive team in the NFL Draft, according to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen (on Twitter). Of course, this wouldn’t be the first time that GM Thomas Dimitroff went big on draft day – he gambled, and hit the jackpot, with his move up for Julio Jones in 2011. This time around, he could be looking to land one of the draft’s premier cornerbacks. As Mort notes, the Falcons will have to play against the likes of Tom Brady and Teddy Bridgewater this year. An elite defender like Ohio State’s Jeff Okudah or Florida’s C.J. Henderson could give them the artillery they need to keep up in the NFC South.

More draft rumblings from around the league:

  • The Steelers don’t have a first-round pick, but head coach Mike Tomlin says he isn’t “fretting at all” (Twitter link via Brooke Pryor of ESPN.com). The Steelers turned that selection into Minkah Fitzpatrick back in September and the former Fins cornerback rewarded them with a first-team All-Pro season. Pittsburgh will have to make the most of their remaining picks, especially since they rank near the bottom of the league in available cap room.
  • Despite the Steelers featuring Joe Haden, Steven Nelson and Mike Hilton, they have drafted a cornerback in ten of the past eleven drafts. They also used a third-round pick on Justin Layne last year. Pittsburgh is slated to hold the No. 49 overall pick. After that, a compensatory selection landed in Round 3 (at No. 104). Should the Steelers feel compelled to further bolster this position, however, that move would more likely come on Day 3, per The Athletic’s Mark Kaboly (subscription required).
  • The Cowboys have done “a ton of work” on Penn State defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com hears. After racking up 17.5 sacks and 37 hurries over the last two seasons while providing solid work against the run, Gross-Matos is in demand.