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Thursday, July 9, 2020

Articles tagged: Carolina Panthers

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.