The Carolina Panthers will coach in this year’s Senior Bowl. They will be coaching against the Miami Dolphins.
Matt Rhule and his staff will coach in the game in just his second season as head coach. Last year, the entire coaching staff was in Mobile, Alabama, for the game.
Coaching in the game will give the Panthers an additional look at this year’s draft prospects. The status of the league’s scouting combine is in doubt, due to COVID-19 protocols, which gives Carolina a big opportunity to evaluate players by coaching them for almost an entire week.
“We’re thrilled to coach at the Senior Bowl,” Rhule said in a statement. “Every year, Jim Nagy and his staff put together the best showcase of college talent in the nation, and we’re really excited to lead and get to know a team of this year’s top draft prospects.”
The teams typically given the opportunity are those that are the highest in the draft order, but still have their coaching staffs in place in order to have plays established to use during the week. The Cincinnati Bengals would be set up to coach in the game for a second straight year due to their high draft pick — No. 5 —but they made it public that they did not want to coach this year.
The Dolphins have the third pick in the draft, courtesy of a trade with the Houston Texans, and the 18th.
The Panthers have the eighth overall pick in this year’s draft. Five of the teams picking ahead of them are in the middle of head coaching searches.
Rhule shared last week that he would be happy to coach in the game, if given the chance.
“(It’s) really kind of out of our hands. Obviously, it’s something that, given a choice, we would absolutely want to do, especially this year,” Rhule said. “But really out of our hands.”
The Senior Bowl will be played at 2:30 p.m. Jan. 30 and broadcast on NFL Network. Practice will take place during the week leading up to the game. Players participating in the game come from all over the country but must be senior draft prospects. The staff will get a good look at some of the top quarterback prospects in this year’s draft, including Florida’s Kyle Trask, Texas’ Sam Ehlinger, Texas A&M’s Kellen Mond, Notre Dame’s Ian Book, Arkansas’s Feleipe Franks and Wake Forest’s Jamie Newman.
This will be the second time Carolina has coached in the Senior Bowl. George Seifert coached in the game in 2000.
At the 2020 Senior Bowl, Rhule and former general manager Marty Hurney especially took note of first-round pick Derrick Brown and second-round hybrid defender Jeremy Chinn out of Southern Illinois, both of whom had strong rookie seasons.
The Panthers have already lost multiple members of the coaching staff this offseason. Quarterbacks coach Jake Peetz and offensive assistant DJ Mangas accepted jobs at LSU as the offensive coordinator and passing game coordinator, respectively. Assistant offensive line coach Marcus Satterfield is taking the offensive coordinator job at South Carolina.
Passing game coordinator Jason Simmons has also interviewed for the defensive coordinator job with the Dallas Cowboys. The Panthers are still in process of hiring the team’s next general manager.
The biggest remaining unknown is at offensive coordinator. The Panthers’ Joe Brady has met with at least four NFL teams about their head coaching jobs, including the Houston Texans and Atlanta Falcons. Los Angeles Chargers and New York Jets. Panthers senior offensive assistant/running backs coach Jeff Nixon could be in line to replace him, if Brady leaves.