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Panthers have a decision to make on Ron Rivera

Panthers coach Ron Rivera entered the season on the hot seat, with extra heat coming from the offseason hiring of a new General Manager.  While Rivera’s accomplishments this year ensure that he’ll be back for 2014, a very real question has arisen regarding his security beyond the coming year.

Three years ago today, Rivera became the head coach of the Panthers, signing a four-year deal.  Next year will be the final year of the contract.  Absent an extension, he’ll be a lame duck.

He wouldn’t be the first lame duck in Carolina.  Four years ago, John Fox worked the final year of his contract, in large part because owner Jerry Richardson wanted to move on but didn’t want to pay Fox to not coach.

There are three options with Rivera:  (1) let him coach the final year of his contract and make a decision after 2014; (2) give him a one-year Band-Aid deal so he’s not a lame duck; and (3) reward him with a long-term extension.

The decision made by the franchise will shed plenty of light on G.M. Dave Gettleman’s true attitude toward Rivera.  Every General Manager wants to hire his own coach.  Only a multi-year extension will show that Gettleman has decided after a year on the job that he would hire Rivera.

For more on the situation, here’s our own Panthers insider Darin Gantt from Monday’s PFT Live.

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53 Responses to “Panthers have a decision to make on Ron Rivera”
  1. firerogergoodell says: Jan 13, 2014 8:55 PM

    If they don’t lock up Rivera they are FOOLS…

  2. guachosporlife says: Jan 13, 2014 8:58 PM

    Rivera did a great job of coaching and deserves an extension. It was Newton who came up small in the second half.

  3. blacknole08 says: Jan 13, 2014 9:00 PM

    Rivera will probably get an extension. The team rallied around him and our defense is real special. Best yet we learned how to finish games.

    Our #1 priority should be adding some weapons for Cam.

  4. chrisk61 says: Jan 13, 2014 9:02 PM

    cam is not the guy. he is good, and has improved, but he has a ceiling and will not be elite. caro will be good as long as that defense stays together.

    in that div i think TB improves a lot. new good hc in lovie smith. good defense. and good young qb in glennon. schiano deserves credit for dumping freeman. a very tough call but had to be done. ultimately TB surpasses caro because glennon becomes better than newton.

  5. phinfan says: Jan 13, 2014 9:02 PM

    This league is pathetic. Leave the man alone for crying out loud.

  6. redfield11 says: Jan 13, 2014 9:02 PM

    I’m not sure of the structure of the panthers but if the GM is making draft choices and it isn’t Rivera then I think you would be fine getting a new Head Coach, probably an offensive minded one. That or keep Rivera at a decent price and bring in a new offensive coordinator. But Rivera isn’t a great coach just a good one but whoever has assembled that talent has done a phenomenal job.

  7. astropiano12 says: Jan 13, 2014 9:04 PM

    I gotta be honest I didn’t think Carolina would get anywhere this season. And then they proved me wrong. And then in that game yesterday I remembered why I thought they were going to go nowhere. His name is Mike Shula. I couldn’t believe just how much his offense mirrored his Alabama offense, redzone and all. Get him out and they’re good to go

  8. thestrategyexpert says: Jan 13, 2014 9:04 PM

    Option 1, not feeling in the giving mood, even with it not being my money.

    If Rivera wants to be the coach for the long-term, then make him take it.

  9. GenXJay says: Jan 13, 2014 9:05 PM

    Panther fans, welcome to the fold.
    (Vikings fan)

  10. joey49er says: Jan 13, 2014 9:07 PM

    Great coach….good was a tough game for the niners to go to their house and beat that team..i think its funny how people say the team was easy to beat… just remember folks this team was 12-4 and was the number 2 seed….number 2 in defense this team was no joke!!! cant wait to see niners play seattle……niners are the under dogg here….just think how sweet it would be for the niners to knock out seattle at home…..NOW THAT WOULD BE A REAL UPSET!!!!! OH YEA NINERS COMIN FOR U SEATTLE FANS

  11. arwiv says: Jan 13, 2014 9:14 PM

    I don’t agree with long term extensions for just making the playoffs once. Give the guy a one year extension through 2015 and let him know that if he does it again next year he’ll get a 2 year extension after that through 2017. What’s so hard to figure out?

    The only newer coach who deserves a nice deal right now is Harbaugh (and I detest that guy….but he gets results every year).

  12. mianfr says: Jan 13, 2014 9:15 PM

    Wow coaching seems like a really good if you can never actually be allowed to have a year left on your guaranteed contract that both parties willingly agreed to.

  13. oldschoolnflman says: Jan 13, 2014 9:16 PM

    Rivera should earn his extension this season. If not, franchise doesn’t have to fire anyone, buy anyone out, and can go in a new direction. Why lose that leverage? This isn’t your QB who can have a great year and raise his own price. Short of winning the super bowl rivera is as high as he is gonna get value wise.

  14. elliottcovert says: Jan 13, 2014 9:16 PM

    Rivera’s defensive acumen helped turn a Panther’s defense bereft of stars into one the best units in the league. This is a young team and they have the potential to be together for a long time. It would be a huge mistake to let Rivera go, but at the same time I can see an argument for letting him play out the last year of his contract to make sure that this year wasn’t a fluke.

  15. harrisbarton says: Jan 13, 2014 9:17 PM

    Niners fan here, who still remembers the days when the Niners and the Panthers were in the same division. I think that the Panthers can win a SB with Cam Newton as the QB. Or put another way, if all the other pieces are in place Newton won’t be the one that holds them back.

    They have to somehow clear up all that cap space they have dedicated to their RB’s. Get a new offensive coordinator, get some offensive linemen and an WR. That defense is amazing. They just need to work on the other side of the ball.

  16. andrejohnsonforpresident says: Jan 13, 2014 9:17 PM

    Keep him and fire that jack ass who was calling the goalline plays. Up the middle against sf qb sneak? Really? wtf is the point of the t.e and rb at that point? Go 5 wide and have cam option run it. Or naked bootleg to the outside. I mean come on.

  17. bert1913 says: Jan 13, 2014 9:18 PM

    panthers have a qb problem, not a hc problem

  18. drs76109 says: Jan 13, 2014 9:18 PM

    He is kinda like most HCs. Neither great nor bad. Just in the middle.

  19. arwiv says: Jan 13, 2014 9:19 PM

    If niners lose this week people will start talking about them like they used to talk about the bills teams of the early 90’s.

    Niners fans are loving the success….too bad their young guns are going to have to start getting paid soon. When you have a great team you need to seize the opportunity and win it all quickly. This isn’t 25 years ago where you could build dynasties over a 5-10 year period. Today’s NFL is “here today and gone tomorrow”.

  20. cjach says: Jan 13, 2014 9:21 PM

    They need to give him an extension!

  21. nfl4days says: Jan 13, 2014 9:23 PM

    Ceiling? LOL. Cam is throwing to Brandon Lafell, Gimped 34 year old steve smith, Ted freakin Gin, and Greg Olsen. Greg is the only legitimate threat cam has. Steve no longer demands the coverage he used too and cant get open, and the other guys are awful. The run game was also completely absent yesterday. Cam was asked to put the whole O on his back against the most stacked D in the NFL.

  22. goldrush36 says: Jan 13, 2014 9:28 PM

    Oh no he was out-coached by the only coach in league history to go to the conference title game in each of his first 3 seasons. There really is much much worse out there. Look how in demand .5oo Fisher was. Get Cam some weapons and keep on his maturation process. Rivera will be more than fine. Especially with that defense

  23. shaggytoodle says: Jan 13, 2014 9:32 PM

    If you are going to let someone go, you need to replace them with someone better.

    I don’t know anyone off the top of my head that’s a better available coach that’s willing. Cohwer might be all right but he doesn’t seem interested.

    The big factor in my opinion, is when you hire a new coach. I think you need to give them at least 3 seasons, cuz any team that let their coach go there is usually a mess to clean up and that takes time.

    You cant expect teams like Wash, Minny, Cleveland to make the playoffs with their new coach next season.

  24. jshawaii22 says: Jan 13, 2014 9:33 PM

    …. Today’s NFL is “here today and gone tomorrow”.

    I guess that applies… unless you’re New England.
    and I’m not a fan of theirs, but that’s the reality.


  25. arwiv says: Jan 13, 2014 9:37 PM

    Panthers are going to have major cap problems after next year. Some pretty stupid contracts are going to screw them as they have to pay newton then kuechly in back-back years.

    In 2015 they already have 104 mill towards the cap with only 30 players under contract.

  26. sarentack says: Jan 13, 2014 9:45 PM

    Panthers success this year was more of an anomaly than coaching.

    I guarantee you after next year that he will be on the hot seat and the Panthers will revert back to 7-9 or 8-8 team.

    Michael Vick was a Coach killer and Cam Newton will get that same title after enough time, especially when all your offense can do is muster 20 points total throughout 2 games vs the 49ers. That offense has been pretty terrible all season.

  27. coltzfan166 says: Jan 13, 2014 9:50 PM

    Just extend him. If they do even better next year without an extension, he could get a better offer elsewhere. Better safe than sorry.

  28. winstonjed44 says: Jan 13, 2014 10:01 PM

    What I want to know is how the Panthers offensive coordinator Mike Shula was supposed to be drawing interest for head coaching gigs, yet decided to try to run right at the middle of the 49ers defense time after time on the goal line and only getting 3 points in 8 plays.

  29. jburk003 says: Jan 13, 2014 10:12 PM

    Tough league. #2 overall seed and possibility of being booted.

    We’ve seen it before- Lovie Smith???

    It’s a win now league..

  30. The League's Crusade Against The Steelers Continues says: Jan 13, 2014 11:09 PM

    You don’t fire coaches that turn 6-10 teams into 7-9 teams into 12-4 teams. Only the Browns would do something like that.

  31. mypercyhurts2 says: Jan 13, 2014 11:10 PM

    jburk003 says:
    Jan 13, 2014 10:12 PM

    Tough league. #2 overall seed and possibility of being booted.

    We’ve seen it before- Lovie Smith???

    It’s a win now league..

    Marty Schottenheimer. 14-2 wasn’t enough to keep his job.

  32. dvdman123 says: Jan 13, 2014 11:18 PM

    Panthers over achieved in 2013. I don’t see a repeat in 2014. They missed a golden opportunity. Saints and Falcons will reload and that’s all she wrote.

  33. keltictim says: Jan 13, 2014 11:53 PM

    Geez remember when coaches were given time to develop their team. Coaches and qbs nowadays get screwed. Win immediately or your out.

  34. bassplucker says: Jan 14, 2014 12:00 AM

    That Panthers defense is a force. To the extent Chico was involved in building up that unit, that alone should warrant a nice extension. Bears fan here and after this season believe me, a great defense is nothing to be taken for granted.

  35. riverhorsey says: Jan 14, 2014 12:11 AM

    Let him coach and slap the franchise tag on him if you want to keep him.

  36. stephenolszewski says: Jan 14, 2014 12:13 AM

    Rivera was a excellent coach had a underrated year, feel they didn’t get enough credit. Cam needs some better weapons on offense and you add more to this defense it’ll be elite status…probably some secondary help

  37. lynx79 says: Jan 14, 2014 12:16 AM

    No! Do not give Rivera an extension now, let him be a lame duck.
    Falcons/bucs collapse, creampuffs like Vikings/Dolphins padded Rivera’s win total and defensive stats.
    Rivera has shown he will not outcoach anybody. Nice guy but now in his 50s and suffered his share of concussions.

  38. OnceACOWBOYFAN says: Jan 14, 2014 12:41 AM

    Who says he can coach….?

  39. boomgrounder says: Jan 14, 2014 1:03 AM

    If they don’t extend Rivera then Rivera knows where he stands. He’s a lame duck. He coaches for 1 season then he’s a Free Agent and it’s all on his terms. If the Panthers win another Division title or make a good playoff run he can call the shots. He could get him a big money deal or even bolt for another big deal to another franchise.
    The bad part about the lame duck situation is for the assistant coaches. Carolina ought to let them go ahead and walk if they can find better deals this offseason if they want to if they are gonna do a lame duck season. It makes for a tough season if all of the coaches are essentially “coaching for their jobs”. Especially if they get a 3 game losing streak going! Players can feel the negative vibe from the coaches wives!

  40. 13fitzj says: Jan 14, 2014 1:21 AM

    A one-and-done in your first time to the playoffs doesn’t deserve a firing. Especially after the stellar job of coaching that he did with this team.

  41. rjkilla says: Jan 14, 2014 1:37 AM

    win a playoff game next year or he’s gone. pretty simple

  42. pongonfl says: Jan 14, 2014 1:52 AM

    wow dont even think about it.
    team played great for him and is still building,
    QB showed allot of development and still shows his brilliance.
    This team is close, only a silly owner would think there is anything greener anywhere else.

  43. draconian1111 says: Jan 14, 2014 2:05 AM

    Good coach, period. Leave him be, anything else is wrong.

  44. rajbais says: Jan 14, 2014 3:48 AM

    Bring him back.

    After all it’s better to bring him back instead of Dallas and Oakland bringing back Jason Garrett and Dennis Allen.

    Unlike Garrett and Allen, Rivera earned his right to come back.

    Unlike the Cowboys and Raiders, if the Panthers bring him back he will be back because he earned the right to give the organization continuity and thus continue his stay.

    The Cowboys and Raiders are only keeping their head coaches to prove that continuity always works.

    It does not always. If it did Tony Sparano would be Miami’s head coach right now.

  45. borisbulldog says: Jan 14, 2014 4:15 AM

    Will they also be making a decision on Cam Romo?

  46. i10east says: Jan 14, 2014 6:20 AM

    Maybe the Riverboat has ran aground, as it’s imperiled.

  47. bsorge10 says: Jan 14, 2014 7:57 AM

    Let him go. Anybody who goes 4 shots up the middle on the 1 yard line shows a lack of imagination. Coaching was one reason the Panthers lost to SF this past weekend.

  48. bearzfan says: Jan 14, 2014 8:04 AM

    Tough league. #2 overall seed and possibility of being booted.

    We’ve seen it before- Lovie Smith???

    It’s a win now league..
    First of all, Lovie had far more time than Rivera did. Secondly, it is ironic you mention Lovie Smith as HE booted Rivera out as DC in Chicago after they went the SUPER BOWL! Third, Lovie may know defense, but he is brain dead on offense (and his ability to objectively hire an OC…Mike Martz anyone?). Lastly, the Panthers have Greg Olsen because Lovie’s “genius” buddy Mike Martz decided Olsen didn’t fit his ancient offensive system. Lovie stamped the decision and moved on.

    Yeah, Lovie needed to go. I get your point, but it is time for a better comparison.

  49. pftmaniac says: Jan 14, 2014 8:29 AM

    Rivera deserves a 4-year extension.


    The NFC South.

  50. 2difshoe says: Jan 14, 2014 9:38 AM

    Let him GO, please. We will take him back here in Chicago. Our defense was top 3 when he was D coordinator under Lovie, and how is he rewarded….fired.

    I like Trestman, unfortunately I don ‘t believe he is head coach material, he has made some very interesting calls like attempting a field goal to win a game on 2nd down that was missed from 47 yards. Pretty sure there is not 1 head coach that would have played it that way. It actually cost Chicago a playoff spot, not like we were going anywhere, it would have been nice to get the rookies the experience.

    Ron, come back to Chicago…please !

  51. All-American Voltron says: Jan 14, 2014 9:59 AM

    Why are players expected to play their butts off in their final contract years (and usually do) to increase their market value, yet we’re supposed to give coaches endless contracts so they aren’t “lame ducks”?

    Seems like some sort of a NFL myth cooked up by a few coaches back in the day, that has become the norm. Not right …

  52. rboyett says: Jan 14, 2014 10:49 AM

    Please please please let Rivera’s contract expire so he can go somewhere else..

    A Saints Fan…

    Seriously, how do you not resign a guy that was 0-3 but turned it around to the point that he got two steps from the SuperBowl in a division that has one of the most potent Offenses and a drastically improved defense. Rivera did an outstanding job. IMO not re-signing him would be a resume generating event by Gettleman

  53. jgedgar70 says: Jan 14, 2014 4:24 PM

    Comparing Rivera to Fox is apples and oranges.

    In 2010, Fox had coached here for 8 seasons, and only 3 were winning ones. His insufferable pressers littered with “it is what it is” and “he’s got a knee” could put amphetamine freaks to sleep. Stupid decisions like starting Brian St. Pierre (with the team 5 days) over Tony Pike (6th round rookie with no snaps in games but 4 months of practices with the team) because the vet was the “known quantity” showed he was more concerned with his reputation than winning games. He had lost the team. Everyone in the solar system knew he was gone after 2010.

    Rivera, by contrast, never lost the team, even in mid-2012 when we were 2-8, and Rivera was 8-18 as a head coach. When what he’s doing isn’t working, he’s willing to do something different and admit it out loud (he admitted after week 2 at Buffalo he made a mistake not going for it in that last 4th down, and he started going for it more).

    I think he’s earned at least a 2-year extension. But if he doesn’t get it, I expect the players would be more motivated than ever to play for him, and they would resolve to win enough games that Gettleman would have no choice but to extend him.

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