CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The fact that the Carolina Panthers are 2-2 right now is simply amazing. Coach Matt Rhule didn’t meet his entire team face to face until August due to the pandemic. Two months later, here they are.
To make this even more amazing is this team started 0-2 and lost their best players in running back Christian McCaffrey after starting 0-2.
How did this turn around happen?
First, the team chemistry has gotten much better as they continue to play and hang out together. But another major key is the hard work they put in during the week to attack their weaknesses.
“I just think every week the defense and the offense says hey we need to improve this, they are finding things to improve, and they are getting better at it," said coach Rhule. “And I think the real key is to not get tired of that. Sometimes when you get a couple of wins, then you feel good, but you don’t realize it gets harder and harder as you go.”
Last week, the main focus of the team was improving their play offensively in the red zone. On Sunday against the Cardinals, they did just that as they made 5 trips inside the red zone and came away with 4 touchdowns.
This week, the focus will be to cut down on the penalties. In Sunday’s win over Arizona, Carolina had 10.
“What the offense was able to do, they had to overcome a ton of penalties,” said coach. “We were able to win the game but we were not great. When you don’t play well enough and you still win, that can lull you into a false sense of security. What we want to do is attack the things we are not doing well so penalties was one of them.”
One of the hardest things to do in the NFL is to be consistent. Especially with a young team and getting this team to put in the consistent work it takes to be great will continue to be coach’s main focus in this first year with this team.
“I don’t want to be a team that rises and falls,” said coach. “You can be happy, but you have to come in on Monday with the exact same process. When you see us practice and when you see us playing in the games, you shouldn’t know if we are winning or losing. We should be the same team every week.”
Up next for the Panthers will be a road game at Atlanta on Sunday.