There’s no team hotter than the Panthers right now, but coach Ron Rivera isn’t that far removed from the hot seat.
That’s why there’s no one more qualified to offer advice to Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano, who has turned things around with a three-game win streak after an 0-8 start full of turmoil on and off the field. The two worked together on Dave Wannstedt’s staff in Chicago, and Rivera knows exactly where Schiano is now.
Rivera started each of his first two seasons 2-8, and after a 1-3 start this year, it didn’t appear certain he’d get through his third season. But that was seven wins and forever ago.
“Just stay the course,” Rivera said, via Mark Cook of PewterReport.com. “Look, he’s been successful, he’s had success, he was successful in college, major college football, he’s had some success as a coach in the NFL, now it’s just a matter of time. Last year I was in the same situation and we got on a roll at the end of the year and now this year we’ve gotten on a roll again. It’s just so hard to win in this league and you’ve got to develop your team first. I think people have to be willing to take the lumps and accept it. There was a time back in the day when guys would be drafted in the first and second round and nobody expected him to play until three-four years down the line. Now you draft a guy and everybody says why isn’t he on the field, he’s a bust.
“Well everybody wants that instant gratification and I think it’s the same thing when you bring in a new head coach and everybody says ‘He should be great at what he’s doing, they should be winning right now.’ Well, evaluate, be realistic in your evaluations and I think you get a better sense of how long it’s going to take, if you’re realistic. If you’re not looking pie in the sky you sit there and go ‘Wow they need to do this, they need to do that, that guy needs to develop, that guy needs time, oh they’ve got to replace this guy, or this guy’s got to grow.’ I like who Tampa Bay is going to become and they’re on their way. Coach Schiano’s doing a great job. It’s just again be patient and just stick with it.”
It’s easier to preach patience when you’re enjoying the tangible results of it, but it’s been hard to tell until the last three weeks that Schiano was presiding over anything but a train wreck.