The Carolina Panthers coach did not use his best judgement here.
It’s been a rough season for the Carolina Panthers. Not only has it been a rough season for the players, it’s been a rough season for the coach as well. Ron Rivera has made some questionable decisions. Sunday, his ego may have been on display.
Rookie defensive end Brian Burns only played 22 snaps on Sunday. Now, he was productive with the snaps he got. He recorded two tackles and a sack and he undoubtedly would have been able to contribute more had he seen the field. However, he made comments to the Charlotte Observer after last weekend’s loss to Atlanta in which he said “I’m a little disappointed” among other things in regards to his playing time.
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On the season, Burns has 5.5 sacks on the year. That is second on the team behind Mario Addison. There is no reason why he should not have been on the field. The Panthers defense did not look good on Sunday. It seemed like the New Orleans Saints were able to figure them out with ease. Carolina did not generate enough pressure from the defensive line, and Burns could’ve certainly helped there.
This is a bad move on the part of Rivera. There is no doubt that the head coach’s ego was definitely bruised a bit. That is still no excuse to not have Burns on the field. The Panthers didn’t draft them in the first round to see him on the bench. You drafted him to play him so that he can make an impact. It wasn’t like he said anything inflammatory or poor about the organization. Should he have taken it to the press? Probably not, he probably could’ve kept it in-house. However, it wasn’t like he trashed the organization to the extent that he deserved to be benched.
If I was Rivera, I would make sure that my best players are out on the field. He has no room for error, and his lack of putting Burns on the field was a major one. This to me was purely an ego thing. It was almost as if to punish him for those comments. It was a stupid thing to do. Rivera does not have the luxury of sitting his best players, and Burns should have been out there. This certainly won’t win Rivera any vote of confidence among fans.