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#pounditTuesday, January 26, 2021

Articles tagged: Carolina Panthers

Report: Jim Harbaugh is not Panthers’ top target for head coach

Jim Harbaugh

The Carolina Panthers are looking for a new head coach after firing Ron Rivera this week, but don’t expect them to turn to Jim Harbaugh.

Peter Schrager appeared on FOX’s NFL pregame show prior to Thursday night’s Bears-Cowboys game and said Harbaugh is not the team’s top target.

There really never was any rumor suggesting the Panthers had interest in Harbaugh. The only place the two were linked was through a betting website that sent press releases to many sports writers about the odds on the next Panthers coach, which isn’t a report or even a rumor.

Schrager says Panthers owner David Tepper will be open to a potential college coach to fill the position.

Tepper has already stated what he is looking for in a coach.

“What I want for the organization in general is a mesh of old and new,” Tepper said. “Old football discipline, modern processes, modern analytics. But I respect old school discipline, too.”

Wow, that sounds like the perfect coach! Does this person actually exist in the NFL, outside of maybe New England? Best of luck in finding him, David.

Ron Rivera hits back at critics in passionate press conference after firing

Ron Rivera

Ron Rivera spoke with the media on Wednesday morning for the first time since the Carolina Panthers announced their decision to fire him, and the former head coach made it clear that he feels he did not deserve to lose his job.

Oftentimes when a coach is fired, they talk about how they were unable to get the job done and wish they could have won more games. While Rivera did say his biggest regret is not winning a Super Bowl with the Panthers, he defiantly spoke about how he inherited a 2-14 team and turned it into a contender.

“Winning is hard in the NFL and not to be taken lightly,” Rivera said. “I’m proud that I took over a 2-14 team and won back-to-back-to-back NFC South division titles. I want to reemphasize: I’m proud that I took over a 2-14 team and won back-to-back-to-back. See the emphasis? Won? Three in a row. Whether you define it by wins or losses or define it by winning the division, to me that’s three years in a row of consecutive winning.”

Rivera was speaking directly to those who have called his 76-63-1 regular season record mediocre. He also alluded to the talk that one of his division titles was the product of good fortune, as the Panthers won the NFC South in 2014 despite finishing 7-8-1.

“I get tired of hearing that we couldn’t win three years in a row or two years in a row,” Rivera added. “No, we won three years in a row, so let’s get that straight. We were the first team in the NFC South to do it, so I’m pretty doggone proud of that.”

You can clearly see that Rivera is upset about being fired, which is understandable. He seemingly took the fall for a down season in which former NFL MVP Cam Newton essentially did not play at all because of a foot injury. The odds were stacked against Rivera from the start this year, so he probably feels he’s being used as a scapegoat.

Rivera said he plans to continue coaching next year and is “kind of excited” about pursuing other opportunities. He also said he was surprised by the timing of his dismissal.

Rivera ended the press conference by holding up a shirt that read “missed opportunities.”

Panthers owner David Tepper had a reasonable explanation for why he did not wait until the end of the season to fire Rivera, but it doesn’t sound like the coach is buying it. Fortunately for him, there will likely be other NFL teams who think his performance was good enough to keep his job. That should help him land another head coaching gig fairly quickly.

Cam Newton posts heartfelt tribute to Ron Rivera: ‘This one hurt deep’

Ron Rivera was fired by the Carolina Panthers on Tuesday in what could be the first of several big moves for the franchise, and Cam Newton had an emotional reaction to the news.

Shortly after the Panthers announced that they are parting ways with Rivera, Newton took to Instagram to say he will be “forever grateful” that Rivera gave him an opportunity. He ended the post by saying “this one hurt deep!!”

Some were surprised by the timing of Rivera’s firing, but Panthers owner David Tepper explained that he did not want to disrespect the coach by searching for his replacement while he was still employed by the team. It’s possible that the Panthers are planning to usher in a new era altogether, as Newton’s days with the franchise could be numbered as well.

Reports have indicated that it is unlikely Newton will be back in Carolina next year, as Kyle Allen has played well in his place and the Panthers can save a significant sum of money if they trade the former NFL MVP. Some comments Newton made recently gave the impression that he does not want to leave, but that decision is not up to him.

Panthers owner did not want to ‘disrespect’ Ron Rivera by waiting to fire him

Ron Rivera

Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera was fired on Tuesday, leading many to wonder why the team could not let him finish out the remaining four games of the season. According to Panthers owner David Tepper, that was done out of respect for Rivera.

Tepper explained his decision to part ways with Rivera shortly after the team was informed. He said he chose to make the move now because he feels it would be “disrespectful” to start searching for Rivera’s replacement while the coach was still employed by the team.

That rationale actually makes sense. The Panthers are going to have to pay Rivera the remainder of his contract anyway, so it does them no good keep him around when they are out of playoff contention and know they’re going to go in another direction. They could have always waited until after the season and said the two sides decided to “mutually part ways,” but everyone knows that’s just a deceiving way of saying a coach was fired.

The Panthers are 5-7 and have lost four straight games. While Cam Newton’s injury has certainly played a role in their struggles this year, there could be some other big changes coming in Carolina this offseason. A fresh start with a new head coach may not be a bad idea.

Ron Rivera fired by Panthers; Perry Fewell to be interim head coach

Ron Rivera

The Carolina Panthers didn’t bother waiting until the end of the season to make the coaching change many anticipated.

The team announced Tuesday that it has fired head coach Ron Rivera after over eight seasons at the helm. Secondary coach Perry Fewell will serve as interim coach for the final four games of the regular season.

Rivera’s future has seemed to be doomed for a while. The Panthers went 7-9 last season and 5-7 this year, currently riding a four-game losing streak. They had fallen into a general state of mediocrity. An injury to Cam Newton didn’t help, but it simply seemed that the veteran coach’s message had grown stale. It was rumored he was on the hot seat last offseason, and the lack of improvement in 2019 sealed his fate.

Rivera went 76-63-1 as Carolina head coach, including a Super Bowl appearance. Fewell, his temporary replacement, went 3-4 as interim coach of the Buffalo Bills in 2009.

10 biggest disappointments of NFL Week 13

Bill Belichick

There are only four weeks to go in the NFL regular season, which means we’ll be watching a lot of huge games in the weeks to come. With bye weeks finished and everybody in action the rest of the way, every game is big in some way, even if the outcomes only affect draft position. Sunday was no different, effectively kicking off the stretch run of the season.

Here are 10 big disappointments from Week 13.

New England Patriots

The Patriots entered Sunday night with the best record in the league at 10-1 and the No. 1 defense. But they looked nothing like the best team in the league during their loss at Houston. The offense struggled to get anything going for most of the game, with Tom Brady taking sacks and complaining about his receivers’ inability to get open. The defense allowed four touchdowns in what was their worst performance since the Baltimore loss. Even kicker Kai Forbath missed an extra point. The Pats are 2-2 in their last four and their 22 points (mostly in garbage time Sunday night) was their high mark during that span. Brady seems to have seen this coming.

Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles looked like a disaster, particularly on defense, against the lowly Miami Dolphins. They were victimized by one of the better trick plays we’ve seen, sure, but Miami also put up 409 yards of total offense on them and totally deserved to win the game. Add in lingering concerns about how good Carson Wentz really is, and the Eagles have a lot to think about. Losses like this tend to cause a reckoning in Philadelphia.

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Saints ironically on wrong end of overturned pass interference review

Saints logo

The NFL decided to make pass interference plays reviewable because of the way the New Orleans Saints were cheated out of a trip to the Super Bowl last year, but the new rule worked against the Saints late in their game against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.

With the score tied 31-31 and the Panthers facing 3rd-and-goal from the 5-yard line, Kyle Allen tried to complete a pass on a crossing route to Jarius Wright, but it fell incomplete. No flag was thrown, but Carolina coach Ron Rivera challenged the play after it appeared Wright was grabbed by a Saints defender. The Panthers won the challenge.

There was definitely some contact on the play, but officials have shown a borderline refusal to overturn pass interference calls and no-calls all season. It seems like we see an egregious pass interference penalty every week that isn’t called but is upheld upon review. Although, the Oakland Raiders won a pass interference challenge earlier on Sunday, so perhaps the NFL is trying to change the narrative.

The football gods may have felt the Saints have suffered enough after they were victims of one of the worst calls in NFL history last year, because the New Orleans defense stood tall and Panthers kicker Joey Slye missed a chip shot field goal.

Eric Reid pushing Panthers owner to sign Colin Kaepernick

Eric Reid

Eric Reid remains one of Colin Kaepernick’s closest allies within the NFL, and he’s still going out of his way to try to get his former teammate a job.

Reid said Wednesday that he had gone to Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper when starting quarterback Cam Newton was placed on injured reserve, urging ownership to sign Kaepernick.

Reid is definitely still lobbying for Kaepernick. The Panthers safety has long been one of his staunchest defenders, and originally did protest with Kaepernick. Reid has been given a job again and he wants the same for Kaepernick, and he’s willing to go straight to ownership to try to make that happen.

Kaepernick appears closer than ever to getting another shot in the NFL. Reid will undoubtedly be pleased by that.

Report: Cam Newton ‘highly unlikely’ to be with Panthers next season

Cam Newton tie

Cam Newton will technically be eligible to return from injured reserve if the Panthers make it to the postseason, but he has almost certainly played his last down of football this season. His tenure in Carolina may have all but come to a close, as well.

Newton is considering having surgery to repair the Lisfranc injury in his foot, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports. He initially was going to opt for rest and rehab, but now that he has been placed on injured reserve he is taking more of a long-term approach. With the way things have unfolded since Kyle Allen took over the starting job, Newton’s long-term future may be with another team.

Rapoport said Newton wants to keep playing in 2020 despite the numerous injuries that have plagued him over the past two seasons, but the reporter considers it “highly unlikely” that the Newton will remain with the Panthers. The former NFL MVP is due 18.6 million next year, and his contract is similar to that of Joe Flacco, who was traded from the Ravens to the Broncos last offseason.

In addition to his steady play on the field, Allen’s contract situation may also be appealing to the Panthers. He has just one accrued NFL season after spending most of last season on the practice squad, and he was technically cut from his rookie contract and brought back. Since he is no longer on a rookie deal, he is eligible for a contract extension at any time. If Carolina believes he is a franchise quarterback, they could extend him this offseason with a deal that will likely be quite reasonable by starting QB standards.

Newton appeared to hint in a recent social media post that his days with the Panthers are numbered. Unless Allen completely falls on his face over the last two months of the season, he seems like he’s going to keep his starting job in 2020 and potentially beyond.

10 biggest disappointments of NFL Week 8

Sean McDermott

We are more or less at the halfway point of the NFL season, meaning the most meaningful games are right around the corner. That makes this week’s action all the more intriguing. Add in the fact that the trade deadline is looming, and there’s a lot of incentive for teams to show their best selves this week to enable front offices to select the best course of action.

So who stood out and who fell short? Here are ten big disappointments from NFL Week 8.

Buffalo Bills

The Bills faced very real questions about how legitimate they were as a 5-1 team. They failed to answer those questions on Sunday with a very poor performance against the Philadelphia Eagles, who had a lot to prove themselves. The Bills were gashed on the ground, giving up 218 rushing yards, while the offense barely surpassed 250 yards. The Bills have had a lot of success leaning on their pass defense and doing enough on offense, but when Philadelphia ran so successfully, that gameplan was blown up. It’s not easy to replicate, but the Bills definitely look more vulnerable now than they did before.

Carolina Panthers

Absolutely dreadful in every aspect. It was no secret that the Panthers would be in for a tough day against San Francisco’s defense, and that played out. Kyle Allen threw for only 158 yards and was picked off three times, while Christian McCaffrey was basically the only player who could do anything on offense. Defensively, it was even more embarrassing. The 49ers aren’t really known for being a dominant offense, but they put up 388 total yards and 51 points on the helpless Panthers. This was bad all around.

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