After starting 6-2 and sliding to 6-8, there are a lot of changes to be made to get the Carolina Panthers back on the right track. A new head coach is not one of them. After rumblings of uncertainty surrounding Ron Rivera’s future with the team, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapaport says that Rivera’s job is not in jeopardy…at least for now.
“As for the Panthers, new owner David Tepper is expected to be patient. The team already made a significant change, with Rivera taking over play-calling on defense. With one of the top play-callers in the NFL in charge of the unit now, Carolina’s D impressed in a loss to the Saints. The roster should get younger and faster next year, as well, and with Rivera in charge of the defense it should only improve.”
The Panthers decision to stay the course could be heavily influenced by the fact that there are not many viable alternatives on the market at this time. Rivera would be at, or very near, the top of the head coach candidate list if the Panthers were to let him go.
Starting quarterback Cam Newton has been plagued with a sore shoulder that only got worse week by week and arguably played a part in the six=game skid. Newton is not expected to need surgery and a healthy Cam with a speedier, revamped defense is promising enough for Tepper to stay the course.
The Panthers host the Falcons today in a divisional match up. With both teams essentially out of the playoff hunt, pride will be on the line when the game kicks off at 1pm, EST.