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I was wrong: A fan’s take on Ron Rivera

Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera has lost all credibility and must go, writes Robert J. Russ.

Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera has lost all credibility and must go, writes Robert J. Russ.

Last year the cacophony was deafening as Carolina Panthers fans clamored for head coach Ron Rivera to be fired. Fans of rival teams joined in the chorus, insisting Rivera was not head coach material.

I fought them. I debated them. I said he took over a 2-14 team. I said that the numerous late-game losses were a plus because it showed the team was able to compete despite the growing pains. I said the defense simply got winded and could not hold up late — that with time, a bulked-up line, and basic happenstance, those narrow loses would flip to narrow wins.

I was wrong.

Others shouted that Rivera had repeatedly failed to make the halftime adjustment to counter the other teams’ strengths and weaknesses. I said he needed to take those lumps and grow.

I was wrong.

I said yet again this Sunday as the Panthers prepared to take on the Buffalo Bills that Carolina held every advantage. I pointed to Buffalo’s preference for running the ball and countered that Carolina’s top-five front seven would neutralize this threat. I said that Carolina’s run game would prevail against a suspect Buffalo run defense. I said that Carolina should win the turnover battle.

I was right.

Remove the one 46-yard run that led to nothing, and the Panthers held the formidable duo of C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson to 87 yards on 27 carries (3.2 yards per carry). The Panthers, meanwhile, averaged 3.9 ypc and even removing their longest run, still held the advantage in rushing efficiency. Carolina also finished with a +1 turnover differential.

But then I took it too far. I said there was no way Carolina should lose the game.

I was dead wrong.

Carolina lost 24-23 to the Buffalo Bills on a touchdown pass with 0:02 remaining on the clock.

I have fought the anti-Rivera crowd in Panther nation. I will fight no more. Now I lead the charge!

Colossal coaching catastrophe

I will not bore you with all the little miscues in today’s debacle.

As they have so many times in the past, Carolina was leading. Carolina was in control. Carolina had it.

But this game was clearly different from the other 15 games in which the Rivera-led Panthers were a putrid 2-13. This time it was not the defense failing to do its job. This time it was not quarterback Cam Newton who came up short. This time there was no untimely turnover or knucklehead penalty or missed assignment.

But the coaches chose to run out the clock and settle for three with 1:38 remaining. The same coaches decided to stop playing the lights-out style that had limited Seattle and Buffalo to two touchdowns and five field goals in 118 minutes and 22 seconds of play.

The coaches flinched.

Cutting the cord

Ron Rivera and Mike Shula should not have been permitted to return to Carolina with the team. General manager Dave Gettleman should have instructed them to find other means of transportation — maybe even have sprung for a couple pairs of bus tickets.

He should have spat on their shoes for daring to lie that they had learned from their mistakes and would turn this thing around.

Is that harsh?

No harsher than the way they have spat on the team and fans with their timidity. No worse than their insisting on the best from players, cutting men who gave their all, pushing players to reach for more while they clearly failed to grow and learn and excel.

Leadership is not accomplished by inflicting pain or by yelling loud enough. It is demonstrated through example.

The apple falls not far

Rivera and his crew have built this Carolina Panthers team in their image. They are hard fighting, tough, grizzled — but in the end they fall short and are found wanting.

The litany of close losses reads like a collage of coaching failures. Too many times this defense has been cuckolded by prevent formations designed to hold a late lead. Those men cannot be productive if their coach has castrated them.

How can Cam Newton and the receivers be expected to come up big late in the game when the man in charge never shows up at all?

Is it any wonder that DeAngelo Williams or Cam Newton drop the ball after watching their leaders do it time and time again?

The Carolina Panthers are a reflection of Ron Rivera, living proof that he does not deserve to be a head coach in the NFL.

I feel betrayed and saddened for my team, my fellow Panther fans, and for myself. I could be angry that Rivera isn’t better. But much of my disgust is my own damn fault. Rivera had shown he only could afford three quarters at a dollar store. I allowed my hopes to blind me to his deficiencies.

As Greg Olsen said after the game, “We can’t sit around and ask why this happens to us. It happens to us because we let it happen to us.”

I was wrong! And Ron Rivera must go.

The sooner the better.

For those that agree http://www.petitionbuzz.com/petitions/fireronrivera

1459 comments
Donny33
Donny33

The Jags fans deserve a shitty team.  They don't show up to games. And they actually think Tebow could help them.

G & G
G & G moderator

Hey guys, we have a new post!!

JVince 11
JVince 11

fuck you Federal Motor Carrier System.... you and your fucking hauling rules and Hours of Service..

LaCW
LaCW

Are the Bucs this years Dream team? I mean they had all the FA signings and the Revis trade. There was no way they could be worse. 

LSU4LIFE
LSU4LIFE

Tampa players complained that Raheem Morris was too friendly with the players,now Schiano is too strict,besides staph infections and gators,What the fuck is in the water in Tampa?

LaCW
LaCW

Players Union:

Sue the NFL for not doing enough to protect them from concussions then appeal suspensions for illegal helmet to helmet concussion causing hits. 

G & G
G & G moderator

Hey Raji, did you win the bet? (Miller High Life Case)

LaCW
LaCW

PFF has Freeman with an accuracy percent of 56.6%. Dead last. 2nd to last is Tom Brady with 62.5%

LaCW
LaCW

Tim Tebows accuracy in 2011 was 59.8%

LaCW
LaCW

@CONCHS333 @LaCWrestler Tebow threw it 20+ yards down field on 23.2% ofhis attempts in 2011. Freman is at 13.2% right now