The Carolina Panthers opened the week by announcing the termination of former head coach Matt Rhule on Monday. Naturally, Panthers fans are wondering who the next full-time coach will be and the good news is that details have already emerged regarding some potential candidates.
The Athletic's Jeff Howe has compiled a list of potential Rhule replacements based on some of his league sources. Howe's list is then divided into three sections: those on the shortlist, those who are in the mix and those that the Panthers may take a 'wait-and-see' approach on.
Carolina Panthers Coach
When it comes to the shortlist, Howe lists Dann Quinn as a top candidate. The Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator is "a respected leader" and has a 43-42 all-time record as a head coach. He's helped the Cowboys own one of the better defenses this season and would likely bring defensive success to the Panthers.
Other names on the shortlist include San Francisco 49ers DC DeMeco Ryans, Pittsburgh Steelers linebackers coach Brian Flores and former New Orleans Saints bench boss Sean Payton. When it comes to Payton, though, the Saints still own his rights, leaving time to tell if they'd let him join a division rival.
The "in the mix" section also includes interesting names. Carolina interim coach Steve Wilks could wind up impressing down the stretch. If not, the Panthers could ultimately replace him with names like Buffalo Bills DC Leslie Frazier or even Jim Caldwell, who has a 62-50 record in seven seasons.
Of course, the Panthers could also wait to see what happens with the league's other assistants once the season ends. Bills offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey, Cowboys OC Kellen Moore and LA Rams assistant coach Thomas Brown are all names that Howe has his eyes on.
At the end of the day, the Panthers are fortunate to get a head start on their head coaching search. Hopefully, whichever candidate they run with can help them make the playoffs for the first time since 2017.
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