It wasn’t just another loss; it was a big loss.
The loss this Sunday to the Cardinals marks the third straight year that the Carolina Panthers have lost a game after their bye week under head coach Ron Rivera.
Why is that a big deal?
Because it’s a microcosm of what’s going on with the Panthers organization as a whole.
The team had two weeks to study film, gameplan and be prepared for the Arizona Cardinals — a team by all accounts that isn’t in danger of being a playoff team. Instead of coming out with a plan and executing it perfectly, the Panthers came out sloppy, unfocused and discombobulated.
We could dissect everything that went wrong for the Panthers; From players not being focused, to bad technique, to bad scheme, to having the wrong personnel on the field, to bad playcalls. It’s a total team failure from top to bottom in some cases.
It’s a chronic case of betting on the wrong horse.
This latest loss illustrated that Ron Rivera is not a very good head football coach. His team continually proves that on the field.
Sure, Ron isn’t out there running the plays, dropping passes, missing tackles or blowing assignments, but he is in charge of who is on the field, what plays are run, and what schemes the team employs. He’s the keeper of this team’s identity, and to date, it would appear that their identity is to do just enough to lose.
Losing the game directly after the bye week for the third straight year indicates that things are not progressing. Especially against a mediocre team.
John Fox was ran out of town because he couldn’t string together back to back winning seasons. Rivera can’t seem to even get a .500 season going, let alone a winning season.
So when it was reported that the Panthers are already vetting potential head coaching candidates, nobody should be surprised. While they are at it, they should replace the scouts as well. Jerry Richardson has never fired a head coach during a season, although there were a few times when he easily could have. Instead, he uses that “lame duck” period to allow the management to do their homework on a replacement. The problem is, they keep picking the same guy. Dom Capers, John Fox, Ron Rivera — they are all the same guy; Successful defensive coordinators who — for whatever reason — didn’t make great head coaches here in Carolina.
Do you believe that Jerry Richardson miraculously will change his philosophy after 20 years of being an NFL owner? I suppose it’s possible, but not likely. It’s said that Richardson prefers going the Defensive Coordinator route because coaches from that lineage typically are good at adjustment; adjustment during games, during bye weeks, etc.
Rivera has proven over the course of two and a quarter seasons that he is not good at change management.
All indications are we’re about to see how GM Dave Gettleman is at adjustments.