2019 could be a pivotal season for Ron Rivera’s future in Carolina.
With summer fast approaching, the weather in Carolina is heating up along with expectations for the Panthers.
This leads a big question to be asked; is head coach Ron Rivera on the hot seat?
The answer is somewhat complicated. Undoubtedly, Rivera is the best coach in Panthers history. Since taking over the reins in 2011, Rivera has a regular season record of 71-56-1. Including the playoffs, Rivera is 73-60-1 (.549), with a 3-4 record in the postseason.
He’s been named NFL AP Coach of The Year twice (2013 and 2015) and is the only coach in Panthers history to ever win three straight division titles. Yet, despite all of his career success, he is indeed on the hot seat. Unfortunately, we live in a what have you done for me lately society.
As of late, the team success has been short & few. The last three season the Panthers have only netted one playoffs appearance, along with one season with eight wins or more.
Since becoming the head coach, good defense has been synonymous with Panthers football. Rivera had the Panthers roll out a top ten defense in four of his first five seasons, which included a string of four straight top ten finishes (’12-’15), but since has only had one top ten defense over the last three seasons. With the peak of frustration coming during a seven-game losing streak to end the 2018 season.
To be completely fair, Rivera being on the hot seat isn’t completely his fault.
In 2018 he had to deal with over seven players being placed on Injured Reserved at some point during the season, Including starting Quarterback Cam Newton. Next, Rivera had to overcome A defense who at times showed signs of aging and lack of focus.
There are three possible scenarios where Rivera can get himself off the hot seat. Scenario number one is to make the playoffs and win at least one game. Scenario number two is to win the division and at worst suffer a first-round exit. Scenario three is simple, win a super bowl and automatically retain the job.
The talent level in Carolina is too great for their fans to expect anything short of a division title or at least one playoff win. The Panthers have finally addressed protection & weapons for Newton on the offensive side of the ball. Key defensive pieces have been added through free agency and will be addressed in the draft.
Rivera’s resume and locker room respect have bought him a second chance after a disappointing 2018 campaign. Make no doubt about it that a repeat showing could see the head coach out of town.?