What Panthers coach Matt Rhule said about Robby Anderson’s sideline outburst Sunday

Eagles cornerback Avonte Maddox, left, breaks up a pass to Panthers wide receiver Robby Anderson during the game against the Eagles at Bank of America Stadium on Sunday, October 10, 2021 in Charlotte, NC.
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Panthers coach Matt Rhule said he hasn’t spoken to Robby Anderson yet about his outburst Sunday, but he heard that the wide receiver wanted the coaching staff to call different routes.

“He wanted us to double move,” Rhule said Monday. “They were sitting on some routes. He wanted us to double move, stutter and go.”

Cameras caught Anderson yelling at someone.

The moment came shortly after Sam Darnold threw his third interception of the day late in the fourth quarter of the Panthers’ 21-18 loss to the Eagles. Anderson was running a comeback route and Eagles cornerback Steven Nelson jumped the route, picking the pass off.

After the game, Nelson said he saw the play coming because the Panthers had run it before.

“That guy has been lining up in that same formation all day,” Nelson said. “I just kind of read the play before it even happened and made the play.”

The Panthers led the Eagles 15-6 at halftime. But they couldn’t get anything going offensively in the second half. They also turned it over three times and had a punt blocked. The Panthers were outscored 15-3 in the second half.

“That was an emotional game,” Rhule said. “But if you sit back and look at it, if everyone would have played well and coached well, we would have won the game.”

Rhule said there would be no repercussions for Anderson, who hasn’t found a connection yet with Darnold. Through five games, Anderson has only 12 catches, which is tied for fourth on the team. He was targeted seven times Sunday and made only two catches for 30 yards.

“Players put a lot into it,” Rhule said. “There’s going to be emotion at times. We’re a tough staff, we coach hard, players are tough. I have no issues with a guy doing that, as long as it stays within a certain realm.”

Darnold has often missed Anderson on throws this season and hasn’t see him open on others. Part of that has been because of the pressure Darnold has received.

Darnold was pressured 21 times on Sunday, according to Pro Football Focus. He was hit eight times and sacked three.

“Sam was out of whack early, passing on the first read, pressure up front, I just don’t think it was a very good day,” Rhule said. “Robby is a good player and he needs to be more involved. At the same time, he also, when he has opportunities, the two third downs we threw to him, he need to make those plays too.”

Running back released

The Panthers announced Monday afternoon that they had parted ways with running back Rodney Smith.

Smith was on the practice squad and had been elevated to the active roster the past two games.

He had five catches for 48 yards against the Cowboys in Week 4. He didn’t record a stat this past Sunday but played in 15% of the team’s offensive snaps.

When asked about Smith’s release, Rhule said, “We just decided to move on from Rodney.”