Joe Ovies

Rivera still coaching for his job

Posted November 5, 2012

Everything clicked for the Carolina Panthers as they broke a 5-game losing streak in Washington. Head coach Ron Rivera just needs to get his team to replicate Sunday afternoon for the remainder of the schedule and all the hot-seat talk will fizzle out.

Easy, right? 

Rivera understands how the position he's in is rather tenuous, telling Michael Silver of Yahoo! Sports that Panthers owner Jerry Richardson laid out the requirements following the dismissal of general manager Marty Hurney.

"It was hard, but my discussion with Mr. Richardson was a good one," Rivera said. "He told me that we are in a production-based business. You have to perform. I get it. I understand his point."

After Hurney was shown the door, mostly for his draft results and partly for fan-service in Charlotte, the Panthers couldn't finish games in the fourth quarter and everything appeared to be unravelling. Cam Newton continued to come under fire for his meandering post game comments and body language. Players openly talked about a leadership void. Following the loss at Chicago, defensive players called out the coaching staff for failing to adjust to the same slant pattern down the stretch.

Rivera did not have the Panthers "trending upwards" and even reasonable folks started to come around on the idea that Richarson would be looking for a new coach at the end of the season.

So what worked on Sunday? The Panthers didn't breakdown defensively like they did in previous weeks and kept Washington in their redzone doldrums. Lo and behold, Carolina created pressure on Robert Griffin III and sacked him several times.

And there was a running game as well. DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart didn't blow up the box score, combining for 88 yards on 16 carries, but they made several critical runs. That was huge for Cam Newton, who had a quietly efficient game despite a bloodied thumb.

Newton threw for 201 yards, had a signature rushing touchdown and found Steve Smith for his first touchdown catch of the season. As if you need further proof everything went right for Carolina, Newton hooked up with a wide-open Armanti Edwards for an 82-yard play.

Amazing how a win changes attitudes. That's the nature of the NFL in 2012, where every week is some sort of referendum. Rivera knows better than any pundit or fan that a loss next week to the Denver Broncos, with the guy he replaced at the helm, evaporates any goodwill built up against the Redskins.

11 Comments

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  • VT1994Hokie Nov 7, 2012

    They definitely need to win the next game.

  • StunGunn Nov 6, 2012

    View quoted thread


    I'd like to see Rivera make it as well, salt. He handles himself very well, but agreed about the "Mr. Nice Guy". That said, I wonder if he's "allowed" to come down on Cam. JR is calling the shots, and the directive may be to handle Cam with kid gloves. A new GM may very well have his own picks for HC, but like your said, JR has the final say. I hope Rivera gets at least another year. Being a first time HC with a rookie QB and no training camp isn't the best way to start a head coaching career, and wasn't much to build on for this year. I question Chud, and why his calls seemed to play to Cam's strengths last year, but not this year.

  • uBnice Nov 6, 2012

    The next game will be more telling as to where the Panthers are headed. The Broncos and Peyton Manning are coming to town. A victory over them and we may be seeing a glimmer of sunshine for the future and Rivera will probably be off the hot seat for a moment or two. A resounding defeat and things will not look good for Rivera.

    I am hoping that the Panthers can pull it off.

  • dsalter Nov 6, 2012

    I'd like to see Ron Rivera make it here. But, he's got to stop being Mr. Nice Guy and coach like his job depends on it. It does. After being turned down 8 times for a HC job, I'm sure this one means a lot. And it's likely his one and only shot. The new GM will have his own coaches in mind, but Jerry Richardson still has the final say.

  • VT1994Hokie Nov 5, 2012

    The sadness is that the Panthers probably listened to the one page that stated that the Panthers would be this or that by the injured center, and be in the Super Bowl.

    Dismal waste of a one page statement. Newton hasn't been a leader. Not many on this team have demonstrated leadership. I'm talking about the Head Coach and all Assistants. No much stuff in the heart. Rivera doesn't show his "guts" all that much. His assistants haven't fired this team up but a few games from what I've seen either. I want them to win. Last season's record is the best they can hope for. Rivera didn't show much so far.

  • PanthersFan45 Nov 5, 2012

    I think if his record winds up being better than last year he has nothing to worry about at all, its only his 2nd season. Richardson has always evaluated the coaching at the end of the year and I expect that to hold true this year. The Panthers put together a good game yesterday and it was encouraging to see the defense make that 4th down stop. Cam looked good for a change and seemed poised. Yes it was the redskins but this team needs to learn how to win games and hopefully this leads to better things to come.

  • iron fist Nov 5, 2012

    He should go and take show boat Cam with him

  • StunGunn Nov 5, 2012

    Rivera may have one cheek off the hot seat after yesterday's win at Washington, but there's plenty of heat left on his other cheek. It was great to see Smitty and DeAngelo Williams score TD's - finally! The D was stellar for most of the game, quite an accomplishment considering Beason is sidelined once again. The Panthers have an uphill battle the rest of the season, which makes their losing very winnable games all the more painful. They won't be in the playoffs, but yesterday's win was a step in the right direction.

  • VT1994Hokie Nov 5, 2012

    View quoted thread


    I agree they looked like they were going to blow another a few times. Holding RGIII down was the key. They hit him hard a few times yesterday. The Panthers running opened up a few new wrinkles. I stated two weeks ago that they had to start running the ball some.

  • uBnice Nov 5, 2012

    View quoted thread


    Yes, the defense did show up. But it still looked a little shaky in the 2nd half, particularly at the beginning of the 2nd half. I was wishing that it would not be a repeat of prior games. I was surprised, however, that they were able to get to Griffin as often as they did.

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