CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - With no preseason games this year, the Carolina Panthers coaches will have to use practices and scrimmages to evaluate the players. Something new Panthers head coach Matt Rhule is use to.
“I’ve been a head coach now for 7 years and haven’t had a preseason game in college,” said Rhule who was the coach at Temple and Baylor before landing the job here in Carolina. “So I’ve had to utilize practices and scrimmages to make evaluations.”
A lack of preseason games will no doubt hurt the late round draft picks as well as the undrafted rookie free agents. Something Panthers center Matt Paradis knows about. He was a 6th round pick in 2014 by Denver and a great showing in the preseason put him in a position to get to the point where he is in his career right now.
“There’s dudes that people didn’t know their names and then they hit preseason game number four and go off and make the team and they turn into great players,” said Paradis. “So I feel for those guys because they’re not going to get the showing that they would normally have gotten in the past.”
Which is why coach Rhule is letting both the young guys and the veterans know that everything you do this training camp is critical. Because they are always being evaluated.
“If they have a meeting whether it is virtual or in person, they’ve got to be great at it,” said coach. “They go out to the practice field and get a couple of reps, they have to be great at it. They have to really show what they can do in a controlled environment. It’s not ideal but it is what it is and we’re going to try and make really good decisions. The way this preseason is laid out is the way my preseason would have been laid out the last couple of years so I feel very comfortable with the way it is.”
The expansion of the practice squad will help in this process as teams can now keep 16 players instead of just 10. More spots for the younger players to land if they can get the attention of the coaches in this abbreviated training camp.