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NFL Carolina Panthers

Carolina Panthers: Questions Still Surround Team’s Future

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Panthers 31-7 drubbing of the San Diego Chargers in Week 15 left more fans wondering what’s wrong with the Chargers, rather than wondering where these Panthers have been all year long.

Of course for Panthers fans, comfortable wins are few and far between, so Sunday’s cruise to victory was the most relaxing Sunday in quite sometime.

Now that the dust has settled from the weekend’s slate of games, questions concerning Carolina’s future are still fueling local sports-talk radio. Questions’ concerning who the next general manger will be and who will take the reigns as head coach if current head coach Ron Rivera receives his walking papers at seasons end.

That “if” being quite a big “if” now that Rivera seems to have this Panthers squad rolling in the right direction.  Not to mention that the current players on this team truly do respect Rivera as their head coach, meaning that he hasn’t lost the locker room.

However, this hasn’t stopped the discussion of what the Panthers might look like next season. Names like current University of Oregon head coach Chip Kelly, Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden and even former Cleveland Browns executive Mike Holmgren have all been mentioned by the media as possible head coaches for next year’s Panthers.

Sure, all intriguing names, but if Carolina does decide to let Rivera go after the regular season then they better make a splash with whom team owner Jerry Richardson ultimately decides to hire.

A splash in the sense that Carolina better hire a proven winner and a guy that will earn the respect of quarterback Cam Newton right from the start.

I might be crazy, but current Monday Night Football analyst Jon Gruden could very well be a dark horse candidate to finally have the opportunity to be the head coach of a young dynamic quarterback.

Then again, the Panthers still have two games left this year and all of this talk serves as good entertainment until we know if Rivera will be fired or not.

Until then, fans should enjoy watching this team win.

Robert Kester, Rant Sports Carolina Panthers Columnist. Contact @robertkester1