The Carolina Panthers have fired their head coach Matt Rhule after just five games into the 2022 NFL season. While that has all but hung a ‘fire sale’ sign upon the Carolina Panthers’ roster, it has some positive components as well. For one thing, the decisive move allows the Panthers to reconfigure their coaching staff, starting with the hire of assistant head coach Steve Wilks.
The Carolina Panthers have the chance to not only put Wilks into a 12-game dress rehearsal for a potential permanent head coaching role for 2023, but this is a curious move before the Panthers take on the LA Rams in Week 6.
We’ve heard that Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris is ripe and ready for another chance to become a head coach in the NFL once more. And this ‘perfect storm,’ of opportunity with the Panthers, his career of coaching in the NFC South Division, and the fact that he has been with the LA Rams in his second season now.
Morris still has the 2022 season to worry about
The Carolina Panthers cannot talk to Morris, or any coach currently employed by an NFL team until the new hiring cycle begins at the end of the season. But knowing that they have already hung the shingle on the organization, the Panthers have a jump on any other NFL team that will be in the market for a new head coach at the season’s end. And knowing that, the Panthers have the opportunity to begin the informal search now and throughout the rest of the season.
The Athletic’s Jeff Howe has already published an article covering the gamut of potential future head coaching candidates for the Carolina Panthers football team, and named among the seven top names on the shortlist is LA Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris.
In his summary of what Morris brings to the table, The Athletic’s Howe (subscription required) cites a rather complementary career history for Morris:
"‘His (Raheem Morris’) unit finished the 2021 season as a top-five defense en route to a Super Bowl championship. Again, his experience in that seat should be attractive to the Panthers.’ – per Jeff Howe of The Athletic"
And best of all, from the Panthers’ perspective, is that the entire organization will have an opportunity to witness DC Raheem Morris first-hand in a live football game.
This might be Morris’ final season with the Rams
Is Morris a certainty to be hired away? No, not in the least. But his career covered quite a long tenure with both the Atlanta Falcons and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the past, so Morris has to be considered a very strong candidate for the Carolina Panthers role even at this distance from the actual hiring.
With all of this being said, the onus right now is for Raheem Morris to get the Rams’ defense at the top of their game in Week 6. So a great game for the Rams’ defense this week may win the battle but could place the Rams back into the hunt for a defensive coordinator next year.
So if the LA Rams defense needed a bit more incentive, the Carolina Panthers have certainly provided it.
As the Rams are 2-3 right now, they are just one game behind the NFC West Division-leading San Francisco 49ers. A Rams win before the Week 7 BYE would be a huge step in the right direction. Can the Rams get a desperately needed win in Week 6? Perhaps. But if they do, look for DC Raheem Morris to inch closer to getting another shot at being a head coach in the NFL once more.