Monday, November 5, 2012

What does Ron Rivera need to do in the second half of Panther season to save his job?

No one knows the answer to the question posed in the title of this blog except Panther team owner Jerry Richardson, and he’s not talking.

Rivera used the phrase “trend up” again Monday when I asked him what would be realistic for his 2-6 Carolina Panthers over the season’s final eight games.

“You want to win them all,” said Rivera, whose Panthers host Denver and former Carolina coach John Fox on Sunday. “You want to win as many as you can. What that number is I don’t know…. There’s a lot of people watching. We have to make sure they see we are trying to do things the right way. This game is about production. It’s a business of production.”

A 6-2 second half would show major progress and might save the jobs of Rivera and his staff. Anything less would mean a losing record for the 2012 season and could be the kiss of death.

At 2-6 after Sunday's impressive win at Washington, the Panthers would need to go 7-1 or 8-0 in the second half of the season to make a very unlikely playoff run. That is almost out of the realm of possibility, but not quite. Only two teams left on the Panthers’ schedule (Denver and Atlanta, both home games) have a winning record.

Interesting historical note: In 2004, the Panthers started 1-7. Then they went on a 6-1 tear and ultimately needed to only beat New Orleans at home in the final game of the season to sneak into the playoffs at 8-8. But they lost that one, finishing 7-9.

That season came under Fox, as did three of Carolina’s four playoff seasons and the Panthers’ only Super Bowl appearance. Until the last of his nine seasons, when the team imploded and went 2-14 in 2010, Fox was relatively popular in Charlotte.

Rivera was popular last year, too. But the honeymoon has ended and the tough work has begun. Even after Sunday’s win, Rivera is 8-16 as the Panther coach.

A victory over the Broncos would make Rivera’s life a whole lot easier. Then a trend really might start to take hold at Bank of America Stadium.

But a loss to the favored Broncos would push Rivera one step closer to the precipice.


Anonymous said...

win a minimum of two games and it's a coin toss. 3 or more, he's safe. Just win baby

Shane P said...

diI guess I'm a bit slow and maybe a tad bit biased because I've met the man and spoke to him on numerous occasions but for the life of me, I just can't understand why his job would be in danger! We've played perhaps the toughest schedule in the league so far this season and with the exception of the Giants game, we could've won em all and be sitting here 7-1. We lost those games because we haven't quite learned what it takes to finish great teams when you got your foot on their throat but it's not because they're not a good team and really not because Rivera isn't a good coach, otherwise we wouldn't even be in position to blow a 4th quarter lead! I think the problem is the expectations,this notion that this was a playoff or bust season, since when did a 6-10 team with a second year HC and QB carry that kind of burden? Especially after you count wins and losses, we've been the worst in the business coming into this season so did JR honestly believe that Rivera could raise the titanic, rebuild it and have it in tip top shape in under two seasons? If so, therein lies the problem but the saddest part to me is, Rivera inherited all of this and looks like he'll be the scapegoat after the season if we don't run the table, which I still think is possible, especially with the way the D is performing. GO PANTHERS!!!!!

Pound It said...

One word "WIN"