It’s no secret that Ron Rivera is coaching for his job in 2013. The Carolina Panthers‘ head coach is yet to record a winning season during his tenure with the team and it’s seeming more and more likely by the week that it won’t happen again this year. The Panthers fell to 1-3 on Sunday after a bad loss to the Arizona Cardinals and now there’s no doubt that Rivera’s coaching seat is burning hot.
The Panthers gave up seven sacks, were penalized seven times for 79 yards and turned the ball over on four occasions. Those numbers are simply not part of the formula for winning football.
“We have to protect the quarterback better and we have to make better decisions as far as the quarterback, too. There are a lot of things we have to correct and a lot of blame to go around for everybody,” said Rivera after the loss.
While he’s right that there’s plenty of blame to go around, the unfortunate reality for him is that the blame is going to start with the head coach. Those errors are reflective of a lack of discipline and that’s Rivera’s main responsibility as the head coach.
So far this season, the Panthers haven’t been terrible by any means. In fact, they’ve performed much better statistically than nearly all of their opponents. They’re much better than their record indicates. But the wins still aren’t there. The Panthers came close to wins in the first two weeks and then they put a beatdown on the New York Giants in week three. Fans were hoping for some momentum after a win in week four, but now it’s back to the drawing board once again.
Carolina will travel north to take on the Minnesota Vikings this Sunday and I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to say that Rivera is coaching for his job. If the Panthers get steamrolled by the Vikings, I believe it will be curtains for Rivera. 1-4 just won’t be good enough to save his job for another week. We’ll have to see how this team responds, but there’s no doubt that Rivera’s back is up against the wall.