NFL Hot Seat: Who’s Next Coach Out After Panthers Fire Matt Rhule?

Rhule was fired five weeks into his third season in Carolina


Oct 10, 2022

The first firing of the NFL season took place Monday as Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule was let go by the organization five weeks into his third season at the helm.

Rhule, who signed a seven-year, $62 million contract before the 2020 campaign, guided the Panthers to a 1-4 start to the 2022 season, with the league’s worst offense in yards per game. He went 11-27 in this three seasons, including a 1-27 record when Carolina allowed 17 or more points, according to ESPN.

Defensive pass game coordinator Steve Wilks has been named the Panthers’ interim coach.

Rhule’s firing probably won’t be the last in the NFL this season, though. And with that, here are a handful of other coaches who could be on the NFL hot seat in the coming weeks and months.

Dan Campbell, Detroit Lions
Campbell’s bravado seemed to work well in Detroit during the 2021 season, with his team battling valiantly despite its 3-13-1 record. But during Campbell’s second season, his aggressive approach has cost his team in the win column, with Detroit now 1-4 and at “rock bottom,” according to the coach. It was the case during a Week 3 loss to the Minnesota Vikings and again in a Week 5 shutout against the New England Patriots. Campbell’s Lions went 0-for-6 on fourth down, including a pair of highly questionable decisions in the first half with the game still undecided. He took blame for not having his team ready, which he’s done in the past, but it’s not crazy to think at some point his energy and attitude might fall on deaf ears should the team not be able to win. It’s not good for those who placed preseason futures on Campbell to win Coach of the Year — and there were a lot of them.

Frank Reich, Indianapolis Colts
The Colts put a lot of blame on Carson Wentz following the 2021 campaign, thus shipping the quarterback off to the Washington Commanders and trading for Matt Ryan. While Wentz hasn’t looked great in Washington, Reich and the Colts have looked just as bad in Indianapolis. The Colts, who just missed out on the NFL playoffs in 2021 after a brutal end to the season, have been one of the more disappointing groups this season, with a 0-2-1 record against divisional opponents including the Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans. Unless Reich turns the 2-2-1 Colts around, his fifth year in Indianapolis could prove to be his last.

Nathaniel Hackett, Denver Broncos
No head coach in the league has gotten off to a worse start in 2022 than Hackett. He looks overmatched by the title he holds, and despite being a small sample size of just five games, it’s difficult to be confident in Hackett moving forward. The 42-year-old head coach, who had served as an offensive coordinator in the league since 2013, has the second-worst offense in terms of points scored and the single-worst offense in the red zone. Denver has just three touchdowns in 14 red-area attempts. Russell Wilson has not been good for the Broncos, but Hackett hasn’t provided much assistance, either.

Kliff Kingsbury, Arizona Cardinals
During the offseason, Kingsbury was given a contract extension to keep him tied to the Cardinals through the 2027 season. It was quite a surprise at the time, and it continues to look that way five weeks into the season. Arizona still sits in second place in the NFC West with a below .500 record of 2-3, but the offensive guru hasn’t excelled in connection with Kyler Murray, as the Cardinals rank first in passing attempts and 17th in passing yards and touchdowns. Kingsbury made his latest miscalculation Sunday in a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, a mismanagement that feels commonplace during this recent tenure. The Cardinals head coach has one season of better than .500 (2021) and, despite the extension, it feels like another mediocre run could cause things to change.

Ron Rivera, Washington Commanders
In an NFC East which has surprised many, the Commanders are the low man on the totem pole by a wide margin. Washington is tied for the worst record in the NFL at 1-4, and things could go from bad to worse should it drop Thursday’s contest to the Chicago Bears. Rivera’s group is 26th in points scored and points allowed this season while allowing the third-most passing touchdowns and recording the fourth-worst clip on the ground. The Commanders have a ton of question marks, starting with Wentz, but it might come down to Rivera falling on the sword in his third season in Washington — with a current 15-23 record to show for it.

Thumbnail photo via Jim Dedmon/USA TODAY Sports Images
Boston Bruins defenseman Hampus Lindholm
Previous Article

Five Bruins Questions That Could Determine Boston’s 2022-23 Fate

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and former Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule
Next Article

Why Patriots Could Benefit From Panthers’ Ongoing Drama, Struggles

Picked For You