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The case for firing Rivera and the case for keeping Rivera


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#1 teeray

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 10:52 AM

I like most fans love to get on a bandwagon and ride the fug out of it. But with Rivera I can't seem to make up my mind I think we should do. Here is the way I see it from both sides of the issue.

Fire Rivera

Game Management: Let's be honest. The game management has been less than satisfactory. Whether it is choosing to throw a hailmary instead of attempt a 50 yard field goal at the end of a half, using a final timeout instead of spiking the ball with 30 seconds on the clock on the 5 yard line, or wasting timeouts because we are getting plays into the huddle too slowly the game management has been terrible. These little things that can be the difference between being 7-9 and 10-6. Rivera is still on a learning curve when it comes to game management and it is costing us close games. I think this can improve, but it is still disconcerting when it happens time and time again.

Lack of Confidence: One of the big knocks many of us had against John Fox is that he was stubborn and wouldn't compromise his convictions to better fit his personnel. And that is a very legitimate gripe. However, there is something to be said about a coach who is confident in what he is doing despite what everyone else thinks. When I look at Rivera I see a guy who is not confident in what he wants to do. For example, against ATL we were fairly aggressive on defense and Roddy White gets behind the defense and we lose the game. So then the next game we are in a similar situation against CHI what do we do? We go too soft in coverage and let them run slant after slant right down the field for a game winning field goal. When you are not confident in what you are doing you have a tendency to overreact and over correct when one game doesn't go right. Confident coaches stick to what they believe will win more games, and doesn't let the result of one game change that conviction (for better or worse). Rivera seems to be unsure of how to handle these game situations and therefore is susceptible to overcompensating when one game goes awry. This will also improve in time as Rivera finds his identity and sticks with it. But how long do we give him to figure that out?

Keep Rivera

The Scheme is mostly good: I like what we are attempting to do on both sides of the ball. We have seen what both sides of the ball can do. The defense was pretty good overall this year. The offense was pretty good overall last year (and the end of this year). So it seems to be reasonable to think that eventually it will all come together and we will be really good on both sides of the ball. I truly think that what we are trying to do overall is the right approach. The offense has been perfect for Cam's abilities (and limitations) and the defense is finally coming together and is an interior lineman and secondary upgrade away from being really dominate.

Cam's development: Cam is only 23 years old and is developing as a QB. He is also a QB with unique abilities. It has taken the better part of 2 seasons for this coaching staff to figure out how to best utilize those abilities. I think the last half of this season is representative of the coaches better use of Cam Newton as well as Cam's own mental development. Changing coaches at this point will result in new coaches playing with their new toy for another two years as they figure out how to best incorporate Cam's abilities into their new scheme. Cam is on the brink, I think he may have a break out season next year, and so I am wary about a coaching change that might stunt Cam's growth or delay his true breakout season.


So basically, I have become pretty indifferent about the whole thing because I think a strong case can be made for either firing him or keeping him. The new GM and JR have a tough decision to make, and no matter what they decide I will see the logic in it.

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#2 Doyle

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 10:55 AM

I'm on the indifferent bandwagon myself.

#3 Catalyst

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 10:56 AM

I'm at the point now that I don't think he's the long-term solution, but if he stays another year then so be it.

#4 Bj-Monster23

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 10:59 AM

The fact that we are 3-7 in till the month of December this season is another reason for letting Rivera go. In his first season we was 2-8 in till December and we go on a winning streak and finish 6-10. So this year we only had a one game improvement from last year dispite having a cupcake schedule in the end. That tells me more about this team and this coach. Maybe next year we can finish 8-8 and not be out of the playoffs before Thanksgiving.

#5 Marguide

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 11:04 AM

This team is only competitive because we have Cam and Rivera knows how to coach up a defense. I don't believe we will ever reach our true potential with Ron as HC.

That said, I could live with him returning, but only if Chud is replaced by an OC/AHC with good game management skills (to help Ron in that area).

We go into next year with the same staff and I expect the same results as years 1 and 2. Flashes of brilliance, flashes of ineptitude.

#6 CarolinaPride5

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 11:04 AM

We'd be the 8th team firing a coach though. All the good coaches out there will be gone soon if we don't hurry and decide.

#7 OnlyPantherFaninMaine

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 11:06 AM

Spot on teeray.

I think the guy deserves one more year to try and put it all together and get both sides of the ball playing as they are capable of. If that happens, and I believe it would, this team should be in playoff contention.

As for the game management I just think Rivera needs a coach with previous head coaching experience somewhere on his staff. Couple that with another year to mature and better himself in his own right and I think Rivera just may get it together.

#8 Anybodyhome

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 11:06 AM

Nice piece and well stated.

That being said, one of the biggest factors in deciding whether or not Rivera stays or goes may have nothing to do with coaching at all.

It may very well come down to the fact that Jerry Richardson has absolutely no sense of urgency and may not make up his mind on a GM for some time. By the time the new GM is named, the list of head coaching candidates may be a very short one regardless and the new GM may feel as though he has little alternative than to keep Rivera because the organization is already 3 weeks behind the power curve.

#9 Salvo

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 11:09 AM

If we can slam dunk with Kelly, who can liven up the fanbase and possibly have more success with this team, then I would be perfectly fine with the gamble. I'm not exactly holding my breath for that, though.

Otherwise, there is not another up and coming head coach candidate out there that I would choose over Rivera right now. Give him one more season to see what he can do in a contract year. If he doesn't live up to expectations, then let him go.

#10 teeray

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 11:10 AM

We'd be the 8th team firing a coach though. All the good coaches out there will be gone soon if we don't hurry and decide.


This is true, but I also think the Panthers will be one of the most sought after jobs by coaches should it come open.

We have the pieces in place to be a playoff team right now, and we have a franchise QB in place. The fact we have lost so many close games will be enticing for any coach that wants to be in a good situation and win right away.

#11 catfang

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 11:12 AM

Dp

#12 catfang

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 11:13 AM

Nice piece and well stated.

That being said, one of the biggest factors in deciding whether or not Rivera stays or goes may have nothing to do with coaching at all.

It may very well come down to the fact that Jerry Richardson has absolutely no sense of urgency and may not make up his mind on a GM for some time. By the time the new GM is named, the list of head coaching candidates may be a very short one regardless and the new GM may feel as though he has little alternative than to keep Rivera because the organization is already 3 weeks behind the power curve.


This is my biggest fear. I'd be very disappointed.

#13 Zod

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 11:21 AM

Promoted to article. Nice.

#14 Anybodyhome

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 11:21 AM

"...but I also think the Panthers will be one of the most sought after jobs by coaches should it come open."
Not so sure about that. Jerry Richardson has proven himself to be pretty frugal and won't pay a top coach's salary. Witness John Fox in his last season in Charlotte only making about $3M as one of the longest tenured coaches in the league after all his years with the Panthers.

#15 ElkinPanthersFan

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 11:22 AM

People made fun of Bill Walsh before he came to the NFL. Said his style of offense, the West Coast, would never work. His work transcended the game. Beliacheat went out to Oregon this off-season to see what all this Chip Kelly hub-bub was about. The Patriots then fixed their problems on explosive plays this year.

The common denominator between all three coaches is their attention to details and their work ethic for perfection. I'd take a gamble on it. Yes, in the NFL you only have 1 first round pick and the Salary cap vs the 17 scholarships you can throw out but I think Kelly will make it work in the NFL. I just don't want us to pass it by and be left wondering what if much like our Kickoff out of bounds in the Superbowl.

Rivera hasn't shown me anything more that many other coaches that are currently losing their jobs have. Yes, the defense is playing better, they played hard but it was against teams that are in as much of a mess as ours, minus Atlanta. Brady Quinn looked like Joe Cool in the pocket. Brady Quinn couldn't even hold Delhomme's clipboard. Clock Mismanagement is worse than kids playing Madden. I was optimistic coming into this year that if our defense was middle of the road we would make the playoffs. Our defense was better than middle of the road, yet the regression on offense was terrible. Why do you have to be on the hot-seat before you perform? Ideally you want that consistency all 16 games not just 5.


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