Rivera gets chance, but it might not be a very good one

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Ron Rivera got another chance.

But it may not be that good of one, and it’s only making their new general manager wait a year for his.

Panthers owner Jerry Richardson decided to keep Rivera after a Saturday meeting, despite Rivera’s 13-19 record, which includes back-to-back 2-8 starts and a 2-12 record in games decided by a touchdown or less. Going back to the lame-duck John Fox/clear-the-books 2010 season, the Panthers have won 15 of their previous 48 games, with just eight wins at home.

Rivera’s 7-3 in the month of December (including a January regular season game), which apparently went a long way toward buying him another year. But December only matters when December matters, which it hasn’t in Charlotte since 2008.

And from the looks of things, it’s hard to know how much improvement they can make in a make-or-break year for their head coach, which could mean another middle-of-the-road season at best.

They’re sitting around $16 million over the 2013 salary cap at the moment, meaning they’re going to have to subtract before they can add this offseason. They’re also short a pair of draft picks (a third and a seventh) for trades made last offseason.

It would be easy to call Richardson cheap for not pulling the plug on the last two year’s of Rivera’s deal, but his (perhaps excess) spending on a team that failed to deliver on high expectations this year shows he’s willing to spend.

So the general manager candidates the Panthers are working through know they’re walking into a situation with a young quarterback and a moderate level of talent, but no salary cap room, and no chance to create their own program with their own pick of head coach.

At least they know that walking in the door, giving them the benefit of a low bar now, with an opportunity to fix things in 2014 if things progress along a linear path.

The Bears wasted a season with coach Lovie Smith this year, essentially firing him because the Vikings beat the Packers last week to keep them out of the playoffs. That shows you that Smith wasn’t going to be hanging around first-year GM Phil Emery regardless.

Likewise, Rivera can’t feel any degree of security with a new boss walking in the door, knowing he’s working with effectively the same roster plus five draft picks, giving him a small chance to improve on a record that needs a lot of work.

22 responses to “Rivera gets chance, but it might not be a very good one

  1. He should’ve been fired for simply refusing to use Cam Newton on 4th and short situations and instead settling for FGs or punting the ball, seriously he has the best short yardage weapon in football, use him!

  2. The same roster plus a healthy beason, Gamble, Khali (3 pro bowlers)… Along with trades… We are definitely a playoff team at full strength

  3. I like the Panthers’ chances of making the playoffs next season. Newton is a star in the making and with an improving defense the Panthers should be able to improve. Remember this team lost a lot of close games this year things will even out soon enough.

  4. The Panthers when healthy are a legit 8-8 or 9-7 team as they sit. I think there excellent divisional record also went a long way to saving Ron as well.

  5. Jerry Richardson is rolling the dice with Rivera. I suspect he was influenced by the large number of other vacancies in the league and decided the gamble on his current coach was better than competing for available talent.

  6. Drug addicts have a willingness to spend for good times too, doesn’t mean it should be commendable that an owner is willing to spend if he spends recklessly and haphazardly and without a logical plan to win.

  7. oh and unc whatever whatever your name is, beason will have to be restructured or cut, gamble wll HAVE to be cut to get under the cap

  8. The blame/responsibility for the eventual failure/success of the Panthers over the next year falls onto the shoulders of whoever wanted Newton.

  9. He turned a 2-win team to a 7-9 one in 2 years, with defensive personnel that amounts to Kuechly + assorted garbage.

    Some NFL front-office personnel need to realize that one-year rebuilding projects are exceptions rather than the rule.

  10. Rivera is a very good coach..I think he will lead these guys to the playoffs next year…another year of Cam maturing..and a strong draft with a new gm will definitely help…as a bears fan Lovie should never have fired him…

  11. Rivera is not the man to blame for the team being saddled by bad contracts and a dearth of draft picks. Marty Hurney meant well, but the team is now feeling the hangover from the 2011 spending spree. It’s as if Hurney built the team to win it all in 2012, which was way premature. And that’s why he’s jobless.

  12. I do not think Panthers will make the play-off next year. Atlanta still owns NFC South and Saints is not that far behind once they get over the Bounty Hunter suspension then they will be legit again. Should have just fired Rivera and get it on with new Head Coach knowing we will not have high expectation next year, which would be the same result with Rivera.

  13. I love continuing to hear about “another year of Cam maturing”. Please ….Real leaders (Brady/Brees/Rodgers/ Wilson/Luck/RG3) came in ready to lead. Cam is a stat machine…nothing more….yet.

  14. The top brass of the panthers has no football knowledge and if they don’t hire a GM with football background in scouting this team is destined for Nothing,. Face it, as a Panthers fan we are screwed…

    By the way, how is John Fox doing???

  15. Falcants do not own NFC South…Saints do….the Falcants lucked out with a very soft schedule and down year for Saints…otherwise, they fail like they do every year….who dat, we dat…fact…

  16. novoodoo4409 says:Jan 5, 2013 7:20 PM

    Falcants do not own NFC South…Saints do….the Falcants lucked out with a very soft schedule and down year for Saints…otherwise, they fail like they do every year….who dat, we dat…fact…


    couldn’t help but notice your team only winning after Hurricane Katrina, dat team with dem fans with bags on dey heads. Now That’s a fact. Not that long ago you were the laughing stock of the NFL, Ricky.

  17. A 12-4 season was within reach, 9-7 was in our damn fingers..

    If we were getting blown out… I’d be worried. But as long as they don’t start off holding Cam back again, we could hit double digits.

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