FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, May 18th, 2020
PETER KING SPEAKS WITH CAROLINA PANTHERS HEAD COACH MATT RHULE & DISCUSSES OFFSEASON DISTANCE LEARNING IN THIS WEEK’S “FMIA” COLUMN
“No NFL team in this historically different offseason is as challenged as Rhule’s Panthers…New coach…Two NFL rookie coordinators…A new quarterback who still has not met a single one of his receivers.” – King on Matt Rhule and the Panthers
“I’m a walk-around coach and so because I can’t pop into a coach’s office…I pop into their (Microsoft) Teams meetings sometimes.” – Matt Rhule on the virtual offseason with his coaching staff
“Over the years, I just felt like there was a real disconnect between how much offense the defensive coaches know, and how much defense the offensive coaches know.” – Rhule on his coaching staff learning every position
“He doesn’t want to get a job unless he wins it with the factors the same for every candidate. So the NFL risks alienating the very group it’s dying to help by passing these bylaws Tuesday.” – King on speaking with Louis Riddick about the NFL’s proposed minority hiring rules
ProFootballTalk.com Provides the Latest Offseason News and Updates; Florio & Simms on PFT Live Weekdays at 7 a.m. ET on NBCSN
STAMFORD, Conn. – May 18, 2020 – Peter King speaks with first-year Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule and discusses how the team is handling distance learning and the virtual offseason while implementing a new system in this week’s edition of Football Morning in America, available now exclusively on NBCSports.com. King also speaks with ESPN’s Louis Riddick about the NFL’s proposed plan to increase minority hires, which will be voted on at the NFL’s virtual spring meetings this week.
This week on NBCSN, Lunch Talk Live with Mike Tirico continues each weekday at Noon ET, followed by The Rich Eisen Show at 1 p.m. ET. NBC Sports Football Flex, a one-hour show featuring the most topical news and analysis from NBC Sports’ digital football content, begins daily at 11 a.m. ET on NBCSN. For more information on NBCSN’s weekday programming, click here.
Additionally, ProFootballTalk.com continues to provide the latest offseason news, and NFL insider Mike Florio and analyst Chris Simms provide analysis and updates on PFT Live.
The following are highlights from this week’s edition of Football Morning in America:
MATT RHULE AND THE PANTHERS
King on Rhule’s introduction to the Panthers: “Last month, Matt Rhule gave the speech he’d been preparing since he knew he wanted to be a football coach back in sixth grade. Rhule didn’t actually give the speech live…The rookie coach would tell his 62 players what kind of program he’d run and what kind of team they’d be. But the coronavirus changed everyone’s plans. The virus changed the speech too…Rhule recorded the speech on his iPhone.”
King on the Panthers: “No NFL team in this historically different offseason is as challenged as Rhule’s Panthers. Consider: New coach, with one year of previous NFL experience; Two NFL rookie coordinators; A new quarterback who still has not met a single one of his receivers; The defensive leader, Luke Kuechly, is gone – retired; The offensive cornerstone, 2015 MVP Cam Newton, is gone – released.”
King on Rhule and the Panthers: “Rhule has a seven-year contract, and so he’s concentrating on building a strong foundation. (It’s like the 49ers did with Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch, on six-year deals, building for the long haul and surviving a 10-22 start.)…Owner David Tepper hired Rhule to build from the ground up…Tepper knows 2020 is an investment.”
King on this offseason: “This is a strange offseason for every team. It’s virtually certain teams won’t be able to gather until late July at the earliest…Rhule has told his coaches: Plan as if the players are reporting tomorrow. Prepare as if we won’t have them till a week before the season.”
Rhule on virtual meetings: “I’m a walk-around coach and so because I can’t pop into a coach’s office…I pop into their (Microsoft) Teams meetings sometimes, just to ask questions. I learned about being a walk-around coach from studying [former coach] Bill Parcells.”
King: “The Panthers will use this time to do something NFL-unconventional. Rhule has each coach watch the other coaches’ videoconferences and how they teach their individual positions…(Rhule) finds value in having every coach learn every position. And he feels comfortable in giving coaching points to every assistant on his staff.”
Rhule on his coaching staff: “Over the years, I just felt like there was a real disconnect between how much offense the defensive coaches know, and how much defense the offensive coaches know…You can’t ask the players to learn the full game if our coaches don’t do that.”
King: “(Rhule’s) assigned each assistant an area of expertise to present concepts and education topics to the rest of the staff, in 40-minute classes beginning this week… It bleeds down to the players. One day last week, (QB coach Jake) Peetz handed the teaching for a day to (Teddy) Bridgewater.”
Panthers QB Teddy Bridgewater on signing with Carolina: “It’s a blessing to be back in this position that I’m in. Having someone believe in you, having an organization that believes in you and gives you the keys…I know that it’s a difficult time right now and I’m not able to be around the guys, but with technology…it’s easy to get access to each other.”
King on Panthers offensive coordinator Joe Brady: “In the last 15 months, Brady has gone from being an invisible Saints offensive assistant to the passing tutor for Joe Burrow at LSU to the (Panthers’) offensive coordinator…Maybe the most valuable lesson Brady learned from (Sean) Payton/(Drew) Brees is watching them on Saturday nights.”
Brady on learning from Sean Payton and Drew Brees: “I learned that if your quarterback doesn’t have trust in the play, why are you calling it?…That exact meeting Sean (Payton) and Drew (Brees) had each Saturday night is what I did with Joe Burrow every week…At New Orleans and LSU, I learned to create a system that fit the players we had.”
Panthers quarterback coach Jake Peetz on Rhule: “What I think you’re going to see is the people who come out of this ahead are people who have a process and a clear vision of what they want. That’s why Matt has been successful – because he’s had a defined vision and purpose and process as to how he’s gone about it.”
King on Rhule’s tutelage: “Rhule learned most from two coaches: Joe Paterno (Rhule was a walk-on backup linebacker at Penn State)…and Bill Parcells. Parcells lived by two things Rhule values. One: There is a way to win every game. Two: Every 100 yards of field-position gained is worth seven points. What does that mean? Don’t underestimate special teams, and don’t underestimate field-position football.”
King on the NFL’s proposal: “Providing incentives to do the right thing in a league with an estimated 70 percent players of color is laudable, and (Roger) Goodell and NFL exec Troy Vincent have been trying to come up with an aspiring tablet for this splitting headache. So I was taken aback by the near-universal condemnation of the proposals in the media and the public.”
ESPN’s Louis Riddick to King: “I understand what the diversity committee is trying to do. Their intention is honest and real…But the bottom line remains the same: Owners can hire who they want to hire.”
Riddick on his experience interviewing for the Giants GM job in 2017: “When I interviewed with the New York Giants, I felt it was a fair process. But if these policies are implemented, the first day I walk into the building, I know people with that organization would wonder: Did he get this job because he’s the best man for the job, or did he get it at least in part because it gives us a big break in the draft?”
King on Riddick’s viewpoint: “If the NFL by three-quarters vote implements rules to spur minority GM and coach hiring Tuesday, it sounds like one of the leading candidates, Riddick, would be angry about it. He doesn’t want to get a job unless he wins it with the factors the same for every candidate. So the NFL risks alienating the very group it’s dying to help by passing these bylaws Tuesday.”
King on his proposal for minority coaches: “My proposal would be to mandate that every coaching staff have at least one of the following five positions filled by a minority: head coach, offensive coordinator, quarterback coach, assistant quarterback coach, offensive quality control coach…Mine the colleges for the best and the brightest and give them shots at the highest level. Get them in the pipeline.”
King on the vote to no longer prevent assistant coaches to interview for other team’s coordinator jobs: “I believe it’s likely the vote to allow assistants to interview for coordinator jobs will pass. There seems to be little opposition to it.”
King on if the vote doesn’t pass: “If the measures fail, the NFL absolutely has to turn to strengthening the minority fellowship programs. Instead of “internships,” have all 32 teams budget every year for a full-time minority coach to assist on the offensive side of the ball.”
King on Aaron Rodgers’ comments about the Packers drafting Jordan Love: “I think it’s good on Aaron Rodgers the teammate to bury his feeling about the Packers drafting a quarterback in the first round and being magnanimous about it in his first public comments three weeks after the fact…It can’t help Rodgers or his team to be publicly warring with the front office. I do think he’ll be a good guy for Jordan Love to learn from.”
King on the passing of Phyllis George: “A trailblazer for women who…never got the kudos she should have gotten…45 years ago, one of the three studio hosts for an NFL pregame show was a woman.”
Brent Musburger to King on George: “I never met anyone like her who had the presence she had when she came in the room…She was able to convince the hard-core fans that it would be fine to have her come into the living room. She was able to capture both genders.”
The following are additional highlights of NBC Sports’ NFL coverage:
- Lunch Talk Live: NBC Sports’ hour-long, daily sports talk show, which is hosted by Mike Tirico, continues each weekday at Noon ET on NBCSN. NBC Football Night in America analyst Rodney Harrison will appear on today’s show.
- The Rich Eisen Show: Rich Eisen, a four-time Sports Emmy studio host nominee and NFL Network’s first on-air talent, brings his Los Angeles-based The Rich Eisen Show to NBCSN on weekdays at 1 p.m. ET.
- Click here for more information on Lunch Talk Live, The Rich Eisen Show, and NBC Sports Football Flex.
- PFT Live: Mike Florio and Chris Simms continue to discuss offseason storylines.
A new “Football Morning in America” posts every Monday morning exclusively on NBCSports.com through the NFL season. It was announced in May 2019 that King signed an exclusive agreement with NBC Sports Group that included writing a weekly Monday morning NFL column for NBCSports.com; making regular appearances on NBCSN’s and NBC Sports Radio’s PFT Live with Mike Florio; and continuing to contribute to Football Night in America, the most-watched studio show in sports.