You might think that Carolina Panthers head coach would be upset over the performance of his team Friday night against the New England Patriots. You might think that, but you would be wrong. Instead, Rivera described his feeling as disappointment. There is a huge difference between “upset” and “disappointed” for a head coach, and it is the cause that distinguishes them.
Rivera explained the difference after the game.
“We were in position to make plays, that is the best thing about it” Rivera said “Its not like we weren’t there, its not like we were getting out butts whipped. That is the thing I am OK with. We had opportunities and we didn’t make the plays, that’s the disappointing part. If we weren’t in position to make plays, I would be upset.”
“But I am not, I am just disappointed more so than anything else.” Rivera added.
All three units of the Carolina Panthers showed the need for improvement, offense, defense, special teams. Game changing plays were there to be made, but the Carolina Panthers failed to capitalize. From overthrown passes, to dropped balls, from missed sacks to dropped interceptions, the Panthers had numerous opportunities to build momentum but just couldn’t.
For instance, on a corner blitz rookie Daryl Worley had Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo dead to rights. He pounced on the quarterback, well tried to at least. Garoppolo spun and slipped away from Worley’s grasp. A missed opportunity and a teachable moment for the rookie.
Ron Rivera’s advice to the players on fixing these problems? Simple.
“Lower those passes, catch the ball.” Rivera said. “Catch the interceptions, make the sacks.”
Rivera does not feel the Carolina Panthers are a long ways away from returning to that 2015 form. Quite the opposite, in fact. Rivera described the Panthers current stats as “right where we need to be”.
It would be more worrisome for him if the Panthers were not in position to make those plays, but they were. So don’t expect sweeping changes to be made anytime soon. Instead, the Panthers will be challenged with finishing those game changing plays. Refocusing and paying more attention to small details.
Luckily for the Panthers, this is happening now. The flight back from Denver would be a miserable place to start.