Carolina Panthers Ron Rivera already on the hot seat
Ranking tabs Carolina Panthers Ron Rivera as next to last in job security.
There is no question the Carolina Panthers performance suffered due to injuries last season. Not just to quarterback Cam Newton but the entire offensive line, tight end Greg Olsen and others throughout the year. Losing nine games, Carolina was only more than two scores away from winning one contest.
In five, there was less than a single touchdown and extra point difference, including three over a seven game losing streak decided by a field goal or less. Despite the depleted roster, the Panthers were obviously still competitive attributing signs of a close-knit locker room and also faith in the man responsible for leading it.
Losing in the NFL equates to short-tenured coaches and seemingly constant change for many teams in the league. Fortunately, Carolina has enjoyed quite a bit of success in their 25 years as Rivera is only the fourth coach in franchise history. To compare, the Cleveland Browns have had six different coaches just since Rivera started in Carolina (2011) and they’re not the only team with a recent history of change.
New owner David Tepper displayed his confidence in Rivera by not ousting him after last season’s slide but whether or not he can withstand another losing season remains to be seen. Coming to Carolina by way of Pittsburgh – another franchise with patience for their coaches – Tepper may be willing to stick with Rivera so long as the team continues to compete but nobody knows for sure.
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Pat Yasinskas of Touchdown Wire, believes Rivera is firmly on the hot seat despite not playing one regular season game. Based simply on last year’s results and how Tepper is seemingly removing all ties to former owner Jerry Richardson within the franchise, only Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden is more at risk of being fired.
It isn’t the first time Rivera has been in this situation. After two losing seasons, the Panthers started 1-3 in 2013 before winning 11 of 12 in route to the playoffs. Then again in 2014 Carolina was 3-8-1 but four straight December wins captured another divisional title. After a near perfect regular season and Super Bowl appearance in 2015, Rivera’s Panthers finished 6-10 but he followed up with an 11-5 record and return to the playoffs in 2017.
A divisional title in 2019 would give Rivera four, with five trips to the playoffs in nine years and extinguish any more hot seat speculation.