Armstrong: Lots of questions ahead for Panthers, new coach Rhule

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- I'll cut right to the chase here -- I don't have any idea whether or not Matt Rhule is going to transition seamlessly from college to pro football and become the kind of long-term franchise-defining head coach that David Tepper wants.

Rhule has certainly proven at this point that he's a top-shelf college coach, but aside from a similar-shaped ball, the job description at that level is markedly different than what he now tackles in Charlotte.

The good thing for Rhule is that he apparently wowed Tepper to the point that the billionaire owner felt that he wasn't just the best candidate, he was the only one.

That's how you wind up splashing out a 7-year, $60 million deal for a guy whose only NFL experience is one season of assisting on the offensive line of the New York Giants under Tom Coughlin. Absent abject disaster, it's clear that Rhule will be given ample time to implement his ideas with the Panthers.

Tepper reportedly loves Rhule's combination of old-school discipline and accountability and commitment to hard work -- everyone give an exceedingly firm handshake and hearty backslap to the person next to you at this point -- as well as his commitment to being at the vanguard of sports science and high-level game analysis. There was also a, shall we say, meatier appeal that Rhule carried with Tepper.

This quote had me cackling:



There is much for Rhule and the organization to decide in the coming months, primarily the future of Cam Newton with the franchise. Tepper thinks he may have landed a next-generation Chuck Noll to run the Panthers. Between those two challenges -- no pressure Matt.
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