By nature, Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera is conservative. It goes against everything he's always believed as a former linebacker and defensive coordinator to take gambles.
He was criticized unmercifully by the media and fans after a 24-23 loss at Buffalo in Week 2 for kicking a field goal on fourth-and-1 from the Bills' 21-yard line with a 20-17 lead and 1:42 remaining.
At that time, only one of the other 31 NFL teams had gone for it on fourth down less than Carolina since Rivera took over in 2011. That was the coach Rivera replaced, Denver's John Fox.
But ever since then, it seems, Rivera has gone for it almost every time there's been a critical fourth-and-1 call. He did it twice on the first drive of Sunday's 35-10 victory against the Minnesota Vikings.
So maybe he's changing his stripes.
Newton addresses Rivera's recent proclivity for going for it on 4th and 1. Good article, though I don't agree with all of it. I think Rivera has heard his criticism for being a pu$$y in the past, and now that his ass is on the line he's saying "fug it, what do I have to lose". And now that it's working for the most part, he has to stick with it or he'll be criticized even harder for SEEING that it can be successful and still being stubborn enough not to go for it. I just hope Rivera is able to recognize when it's NOT a good time to go for it. I hope this new "throw caution to the wind" attitude on 4th and short doesn't make him decide to go for it on 4th and inches on our own 29 yard line at some point when we're up by 6 points with 3 minutes left in the game or something like that.