CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - During this rare weekend off, Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule got the chance to really sit back and evaluate his team through the first half of the year and there is one thing that is keeping this team from getting to the next level... consistency.
It’s something this Panthers franchise has never really figured out and a big reason why owner David Tepper brought coach in to lead this franchise.
“One of his goals was he wanted to be a team that was the same team year in and year out,” said coach Rhule.
But through eight games, coach is seeing an old trend continuing.
“To look at this year, to lose the first two, then to win three, now to lose three, we don’t want to be a team of streaks,” said coach Rhule.
Due to the uneven play this season, the Panthers find themselves at 3-5.
As coach reflected on the first half of the year, the consistency aspect is not only from a first half of the season stand point, it is a game to game and even a half to half issue for this team.
“Really our offense in the second half of games has not been what we need it to be,” said coach.
In the last 6 games, the Panthers are averaging 15 points per game in the first half. After halftime, they are just averaging 6. In three of those games, they only scored 3 points including this past Thursday against Atlanta.
A lot of that has to do with the lack of consistency protecting QB Teddy Bridgewater.
In wins over Arizona and Atlanta in weeks 4 and 5, the Panthers did not give up a sack in either game. During this current 3 game losing streak, Teddy has been sacked 8 times and hit 14 times. In Thursday’s game with the Falcons, they went blitz happy and put Teddy on the turf 3 times.
“You have a game like Thursday night and it kind of puts you back at the drawing board in terms of hey we got to get this fixed,” said coach. “When we protect the quarterback, we have been really good. When Teddy Bridgewater is upright, he’s playing like one of the best quarterbacks in the National Football League so we’ve got to protect our quarterback.”
While this team has shown some flashes of great play, if they want to take the next step, they have to acheive some consistency.
Next chance to begin to establish that is Sunday at the defending Super Bowl champs, Kansas City. That won’t be easy as the Chiefs are 7-1.