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Panthers owner David Tepper expected to be patient with head coach Matt Rhule as Carolina works on turnaround

A new season has not led to a new result for the Carolina Panthers.

Two tough losses to open the season have run the team's losing streak to nine for head coach Matt Rhule dating back to 2021 -- the longest in the NFL. And with the defeats have come the questions about his job status.

Sources informed of the Panthers' thinking say no change is imminent for Rhule, with Panthers owner David Tepper planning to be patient rather than reactionary. But wins must come and improvement must be evident.

With the locker room still believing in Rhule, sources informed of the Panthers' thinking say, and with the team's fight and effort still clear on the field, it would take an epic collapse or a horribly embarrassing outcome to alter the course. That is not to say things can't happen this season that would change the team's plan -- just not right now.

All of which gives the Panthers time to turn it around.

And there have been some positives. Running back Christian McCaffrey looks like his old self, averaging 5.4 yards per rush. Expect his usage to ramp up. Wide receivers Robbie Anderson and D.J. Moore have impressed. And the defense is in the top 10 in total D.

Baker Mayfield, who Carolina acquired in a highly anticipated trade in July, has a passer rating of just 79.5, and that clearly must improve. The timing has been an issue, which makes sense since he's only been in town for two months. Mayfield's emergence would help immensely.

But some realities have not been pretty.

Rhule is 10-25 as an NFL head coach, which is the worst record among coaches who have coached at least 20 games since 2020. Among active coaches with 20+ games coached since he began with the Panthers, Rhule has four fewer wins than anyone else.

The Panthers are also 1-25 in games where they allow 17 or more points under Rhule since 2020, the worst record in the NFL in that category.

Upon being hired, Rhule signed a seven-year deal and was given control of the roster -- all an indication of not only power but the team's patience. And that's how Tepper would like to be. Patient and able to make a decision when it makes sense rather than the on-field product or locker room reaction forcing him to. If the locker room was in chaos, it might be a different story for Rhule.

Instead, it's just been losses. And if those continue, perhaps this is a topic that will be readdressed. But the hope from all parties is improvement will come.

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