With an open date after Giants, Rivera is on the clock
Posted September 16, 2013
Ron Rivera, Panthers, C: The 24-23 loss Sunday at Buffalo was a lot like the 12-7 loss to Seattle in the Sept. 8 opener.
Late-game hustle mistakes turned both games – DeAngleo Williams’ red-zone fumble against the Seahawks and Luke Kuechly’s pass interference with 14 seconds left against the Bills.
But even with a depleted secondary, you just cannot lose track of the other team’s most dangerous receiver, Buffalo’s Steve Johnson, with the outcome in the balance inside the 5-yard-line.
A loss this week to the New York Giants (0-2) in Charlotte, and Rivera very well could be out during the open week that falls before the Oct. 6 trip to Arizona.
Previous grade: One D.
Ruffin McNeill, ECU, B: The Pirate offensive line was overwhelmed in Saturday’ 15-10 loss to Virginia Tech but the defense and special teams had their best performances of the McNeill era.
Both should be important steps in the right direction with approaching games at North Carolina (Sept. 28) and at Middle Tennessee (Oct. 5).
The Hokies’ pressure man pass coverage, coupled with the Pirates’ blocking breakdowns, exposed the flaws in the spread offense. ECU needed some sort of limited read-option package to buy time and space for quarterback Shane Carden.
That tactic is something for offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley to ponder, but there’s no reason to believe ECU will face a Hokie-like defense during the remaining nine regular-season games.
Previous grades: one C, one B.
David Cutcliffe, Duke, D: Without quarterback Anthony Boone, there was no reason to assume the Blue Devils could upset Georgia Tech on Saturday in Durham.
But for the Blue Devils to surrender four touchdown passes to such a run-based Jacket offense was deplorable and the primary contributor to the 38-14 Tech rout.
The loss of Boone changed the dynamic for the entire team. In order to win six games again, the defense is going to have to do more than originally expected. Not less.
Previous grades: one A, one B.