Panthers coach Ron Rivera understands exactly where he stands, and what he has to do this year.
Rivera, who is 13-19 in two seasons with a pair of 2-8 starts, actually laughed when asked by Tom Sorensen of the Charlotte Observer if he was tired of hearing about being on the hot seat. He got a reprieve this offseason from owner Jerry Richardson, though a new General Manager (Dave Gettleman) who didn’t hire him makes his position tenuous this season.
“What’s funny is the obvious gets stated every time and I get it,” Rivera said. “I will always say that Mr. Richardson has been very supportive and he’s told me just do your job, just do the best you can, Ron. He’s been tremendous. . . .
“Its inevitable people are going to talk about it. It’s kind of the new vogue, who’s on the hot seat. And I don’t think it’s fair because there’s only one person who truly knows and I think sometimes all the talk can kind of influence people. It’s hard for me to imagine that Lovie Smith is [fired by the Bears after] going 10-6 and not going to the playoffs when two teams from their division go to the playoffs. Again, they made the decision they thought was best for their football team. It’s just hard for me to imagine. It’s just unfortunate.
“Do I know I’m coaching for my job? Absolutely. Every time I step on this football field, every time I step in the office, I know we’ve got to do the best we can because this is a production based business. It is about winning.”
The Panthers have been echoing the talk about a sense of urgency all summer, because they know, like Rivera knows, a lot of jobs are on the line.