Well, it was an exciting return to Bank of America Stadium for Denver Broncos head coach John Fox. The Broncos rocked the Carolina Panthers on their home field 36-14, sending the Panthers back down to Earth with a 2-7 record and potential fallout surely to follow.
Fallout came early Monday morning after Sunday’s beat-down. The Panthers and head coach Ron Rivera were forced to make a much-needed move by firing special teams coordinator Brian Murphy.
Rivera stated during Monday’s press conference via the Associated Press that the firing resulted because of “philosophical differences and productivity.”
Murphy joins former team general manager Marty Hurney as the two victims that have lost their jobs due to the Panthers lack of winning this season.
That said, it was time for Murphy to move on. Carolina has gotten absolutely nothing out of their special teams’ production over the last two seasons, and it got worse on Sunday.
The Panthers gave up a 76-yard punt return to Broncos wide receiver Trindon Holliday at the start of the second quarter, swinging the momentum in favor of the Broncos for the duration of the game. The Panthers never recovered from their special teams blunder.
There is no doubt that Murphy needed to go. However, on that same 76-yard punt return it was clear Denver got away with two block-in-the-back penalties, and replay further showed that Holliday let go of the football before crossing the goal-line. The Broncos dodged three bullets during Holliday’s return, yet Rivera was silent.
In fact, Rivera appears way too passive when it comes to missed calls and even bad calls. He never works the referees, which is definitely part of his job on game day.
Rivera spoke loudly on Monday. Murphy is gone and more coaches are soon to follow if the losing continues.
It would be nice to see Rivera take a more aggressive approach on the sidelines and stick up for his players and coaches when needed. For now it seems Rivera will take the aggression out the day after.
Robert Kester, Carolina Panthers Columnist. Contact @robertkester1