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Matt Rhule: Panthers are angry, dying to win

9/22/2022 3:01:53 PM
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Back on Sunday, following the Carolina Panthers’ 19-16 loss to the New York Giants, head coach Matt Rhule told reporters that his team remains “close.” But what does “close” mean exactly, especially when you’re off to an 0-2 start and have lost each of your last nine games?

Well, ESPN’s David Newton asked Rhule precisely that Wednesday, and Rhule gave a pretty simple and energized answer, Anthony Rizzuti of USA Today's Panthers Wire reports.

“What I said on Sunday is my reaction to the game,” Rhule stated on Wednesday. “When I come in on Monday—after the game, as a head coach, you’re responsible for the guys and their mindset and their psyche and all that stuff. And it’s painful to lose two games by field goals that you’re hopin’ aren’t gonna go through. But we lost ’em.

“So when we said that, it doesn’t mean we’re saying like, ‘Hey, it’s okay.’ We’re supposed to win. We’re here to win. Make no mistake—when we walk in here on Monday, there’s no like, ‘Hey, it’s okay, guys.’ There’s a bunch of angry people here that are dying to win. And they work their tails off. So any thought of like, ‘Hey, there’s a loser mentality in this building’ is a falsehood.”

Unfortunately for Rhule—whether that’s the mentality or not—losing has become the norm for his Panthers. That nine-game losing streak they’re currently on stands as the longest active skid in the entire league.

So, how can the Panthers snap out of all that? Rhule believes it’s about power.

“It’s power,” he said when asked how his players should look at the game. “It’s like, ‘You know what? If I play that much better, we’ll win.’ It’s power. Of like, ‘I’m a good football player. I play for the Carolina Panthers and I can help us win. That’s the mindset. That’s the aggressive mindset. There’s not a non-aggressive mindset in the building. But, we are where we are. We gotta fight our way out.”

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