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Mr. Scot

Sorenson: Tepper has a decision

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The latest column from Tom Sorensen in The Observer has some interesting takes.

Sorensen: Even good coaches wear out

Quote

If we held ourselves to the same standard we hold coaches, unemployment would hover at about 90 percent.

Ron Rivera, who coaches the Carolina Panthers, is good at what he does. He’s lost games, but he’s never lost his team. Players have believed in him since 2011, when general manager Marty Hurney pushed Carolina to hire him.

The 2019 season has been about inconsistently and injuries, notably an injury to quarterback Cam Newton. The Panthers lost their first two games with Newton as quarterback, and then they lost Newton.

But Carolina hung in, and rallied around their raw and inexperienced 23-year-old quarterback, Kyle Allen. They went on a nice little tear, winning four straight and five out of six. The pass rush was very good, running back Christian McCaffrey was great, and Allen repeatedly did enough to win.

He struggled against the very good defense of the San Francisco 49ers, and reached his nadir last week against the Atlanta Falcons.

Allen had company. The game felt more like a statement than a loss. The Falcons, who upset Carolina 29-3, were the only team in the NFL last week to beat an opponent with a better record. The Falcons didn’t merely beat the Panthers; they handled them. If you looked away, you missed Atlanta doing something good.

A long-time NBA coach once told me that there comes a time when players stop listening. Even good coaches – and Rivera is a good coach – wear out.

You don’t have to go far to find an example. Steve Clifford had been an NBA assistant coach lifer when in 2013 the then Charlotte Bobcats hired him. Clifford coached five seasons before new general manager Mitch Kupchak jettisoned him.

Clifford, whom the Orlando Magic almost immediately hired, was good, very good, and still is. But in Charlotte, he and his message had worn out. Kupchak made the right decision when he let Clifford go, and the Magic made the right decision when it hired him.

Carolina is Rivera’s first head coaching job. He’s twice been named the league’s Coach of the Year. Whether you acknowledge this or not, the man leads.

But has his time in Carolina expired? Or has he done good work keeping a team led by Allen competitive – at least until the Atlanta loss. Allen unquestionably is a good backup. Is he a starter to which a team can entrust its offense 16 games a season? We don’t know.

A factor: Rivera has long been one of Allen’s biggest supporters. When, in a one-on-one conversation before the season, I asked Rivera if he was interested in blackballed quarterback Colin Kaepernick or in a veteran another team might cut. He said he was not.

Rivera came to Charlotte in 2011, same year as Newton. They once were linked. The better Newton was, the better Rivera was.

Rivera now is linked to Allen.

What would you do if you were Panthers’ owner David Tepper? He’s not fragile, so the loud and often anonymous Fire Rivera today faction of the Carolina fan base will not affect him.

In a conversation with reporters Monday Tepper said that he despises mediocrity.

I believe him. But how many NFL owners have you heard say that they embrace mediocrity? How many NFL owners have said that if they fail to attain mediocrity, offices will empty and heads will roll?

Will the Panthers be better without Rivera? That’s what Tepper, a pragmatic, gutsy and instinctive decision-maker who usually is the smartest man in the room, has to figure out.

Tepper has six more games to do it. His Panthers likely will be underdogs in five of them.

Edited by Mr. Scot
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Rivera is done, the only question is when. And that is once Tepper finds his guy, I doubt Tepper fires Rivera just to get him out the door.  Tepper has an ideal coach, and wantS that coach. He isn’t going to fire Rivera just to hire some turd like Jim Caldwell. 

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2 minutes ago, NanuqoftheNorth said:

There is only one way to find out.

Unless we go on a tear, we will find out.  Rivera is likely gone unless something amazing happens.  

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Sounds to me like we will probably see both Hurney and Ron back next year with the excuse of injuries. 

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The Toronto Raptors made it to the eastern conference finals and their coach won coach of the year and he was still fired.

They brought in a new coach and traded a fan favorite for a star player with an injury history and went on to win the NBA Title last year.

Sometimes you just need to shake things up to finally get over the hump.

I still stand by the fact that everyone should have been let go after 2017 even with making it to the playoffs. 

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I'm not real sure what to make of Sorensen's take that Rivera is now linked to Kyle Allen.

I would agree he generally comes off as a big booster.

Edited by Mr. Scot

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You can be successful but not be the best. That works in most industries, but not this one. 

Ron knows how to lead, and he can win most of the games he coaches. This team will get better or worse with a new coach but it has to move in one of those directions.  

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I seriously doubt it will happen but fug it...I want Lincoln Riley.  Throw some ungodly contract at him and make it happen.  He is the best candidate as long as he brings in a great def coordinator 

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3 minutes ago, bigpoppa said:

You can be successful but not be the best. That works in most industries, but not this one. 

Ron knows how to lead, and he can win most of the games he coaches. This team will get better or worse with a new coach but it has to move in one of those directions.  

As was mentioned in the Roaring Riot article, Tepper understands that he might have to lose for a little bit if he wants to build a consistent winner.

But yeah, it's a different business. If you're the fourth best paper supplier in the US, that's okay. In sports, if you're not first you're nothing.

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7 minutes ago, bigpoppa said:

 

Ron knows how to lead, and he can win most of the games he coaches.

His 9 year record says he can win half of the games he coaches.

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Sorensen didn’t mention that it was Ron who allowed Cam to keep playing even though everyone could tell he was seriously injured. And it’s not the only time he has done it.

You won’t find one player who will say a negative thing about Ron but it just looks like his message is falling on deaf ears. 

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17 minutes ago, Shocker said:

I seriously doubt it will happen but fug it...I want Lincoln Riley.  Throw some ungodly contract at him and make it happen.  He is the best candidate as long as he brings in a great def coordinator 

And if u wait some other team is gonna get the jump on you and hire him instead. Gotta act now.

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2 minutes ago, Tbe said:

His 9 year record says he can win half of the games he coaches.

As of right now, he is 76-61-1. That still mathematically qualifies as most.

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3 winning seasons in 8 years (soon to be 9) under Ron Rivera.

Can the Panthers do better?  Without a doubt.

Will they?  That remains to be seen.

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