In life we a are presented with different obstacles. The trick is recognizing those obstacles and figuring out the correct approach to overcoming them. We have to recognize our limitations and understand whether or not the safe approach is sufficient for acquiring the goal in question, or if a more “risk vs reward” approach is needed. In the case of Ron Rivera I believe he is starting to listen to that little voice in the back of his head and finally finding a nice balance between the two.
Take one listen to one of Riveras media sessions and it is clear to see that he an extremely intelligent guy. He understands his teams strengths and weaknesses. He has the teams ears and attention at all times. I think most everybody in the Panthers locker room has a great deal of respect for him. Why are the wins not coming? Why can’t he find a way to translate all that positivity to the field of play on Sundays? The answer is simple really: he is not taking enough risk.
One of the main reasons I feel the Panthers got off to such a slow start in 2012 was Riveras obsession with masking the teams deficiencies rather than highlighting their strengths. At times he seemed to shy away from risk taking rather opting for the safe play that had a 10% chance of success due to personnel. Finally when his back seemed to be against the wall, he had no choice but to push all his chips to the center of the table. He was forced to throw caution to the wind in order to try an save the job he had worked so hard to obtain. This resulted in several nice wins down the stretch, not to mention some pretty impressive highlights as well.
The truth is that there are not many teams in the NFL, if any, that don’t have at least a couple of positions they wish were a little more affective. What makes a good coach a great coach is focusing on the teams strengths and finding different ways to use them against their opponent. Ron Rivera has to recognize the truly unique position he finds himself in. Having one of the most athletic quarterbacks in the history of the sport on one side of the ball, while coaching what could soon be the best linebacker in the NFL, Luke Kuechly, on the other. We have one heck of a one two punch and the addition of Star and K.K. gives us a nice uppercut. This team is not built or ready to stand in the ring for a full twelve rounds going toe to toe.
This team is built to take a few risk, throw some hooks, go for the KO early and often. Just as important as it is for Cam to begin his accension to team captain, it’s equally as important for Ron Rivera to stop playing it so safe and start taking some risk. If enough teams hit the mat, who knows, we could just end up in the playoffs.