Panther coach Ron Rivera met with the media as usual Monday, saying his team was "very close" to "getting over the hump" and discounting rumors about his job security.
Rivera said he had not talked with team owner Jerry Richardson since the team lost a heartbreaker, 24-23, at Buffalo Sunday. He said he had spoken with general manager Dave Gettleman on Monday, however, but indicated that was only about upcoming business regarding the Panthers' depleted secondary and Sunday's game against the New York Giants.
"We talked about the game, talked about what our potential moves could be," Rivera said.
I followed up with this question: "So you don't have any doubts about your current job security?"
"No," Rivera said. "The biggest thing is we're going to talk about what just happened and the Giants game coming up."
Richardson waited six days after last season concluded before meeting with the coach and then announcing he would be retained for his third season. Rivera's teams are 13-21 overall at Carolina. The Panthers have started 0-2 this season, losing by a combined total of six points. They are now 2-14 under Rivera in games decided by seven points or fewer.
The Panthers have blown 10 fourth-quarter leads under Rivera, including in each of the last two games. The team also lost its starting free safety and best player in the secondary, Charles Godfrey, Sunday to a torn Achilles tendon. Godfrey is out for the season, it was confirmed Monday. The Giants, who play in Charlotte Sunday, are also 0-2.
An unofficial and unscientific Charlotte Observer online poll as to whether Richardson should fire Rivera this week that has drawn more than 7,500 votes, with about 84 percent of voters saying Rivera should be gone.