Week nine could prove more difficult than week eight for the Carolina Panthers. In fact, it started early this week when Panthers head coach Ron Rivera began to address personal concerns over his job.
In a report from the Associated Press on Monday, Rivera didn’t sound too perturbed following yet another Panthers’ fourth quarter let down on Sunday, falling to the Chicago Bears, 23-22.
Rivera stating via the AP report, “if you start to worry [about your job] and you play for the wrong reasons you’re not going to give yourself a chance” and “when the moment comes to be concerned, or not be concerned, I’ll go from there.”
Sure, Rivera shouldn’t be too worried about his job at this point. Worrying won’t solve any of Carolina’s late game melt downs. The Panthers are 7-16 under Rivera’s guidance and scrutiny over Carolina’s coaching staff will continue to heat up if the team doesn’t start winning soon. However, it might be too late.
Some players have already begun to openly criticize the coaching staff, criticism that was only fueled by another Panthers’ gut wrenching loss on Sunday, allowing the Bears to score 16 of their 23 total points in the fourth quarter.
Despite much improved efforts on both sides of the football, it seemed Carolina’s coaches lost their wits on Chicago’s final game winning drive, the Bears marching down the field with calmness before burying the Panthers with a 41-yard field goal.
The Panthers had out-played and out-gained the Bears all afternoon long, but they still fell short.
The Players did their job. Their coaching staff let them down in the end. The Panthers have become use to playing the role of victim, enduring collapse after collapse in games they should have won. Believe it or not, Carolina could easily be 6-1 right now. That’s not a reflection on the players, but an indictment on the coaching staff.
Robert Kester, Carolina Panthers Columnist. Contact @robertkester1.