Some of you would like the Carolina Panthers to fire head coach Ron Rivera on Tuesday. Thats only because the team cant go back in time and fire him Monday.
Lets say team owner Jerry Richardson fires Rivera and hires a new head coach. What happens to the new head coach when, after the season, Richardson hires a general manager to replace Marty Hurney, who was jettisoned last week?
Teams that discard coaches and executives as if theyre napkins rarely win. The trick is to identify the right people and retain them.
Nothing Rivera has accomplished suggests he is the right person. I like him and respect him, and I pull for people I like and respect. Some of you tell me that philosophy has no place in sports, or in 2012. But Ill stick with it.
Why dont the Panthers win games they could or should?
Does Rivera coach not to lose?
Kick out of bounds all day long to avoid Devin Hester? Or work all week to stuff the guy and go after him?
Confidence has to be earned. Lose as many close games as the Panthers have and theyve lost so many its as if they collect them and players have no reason to believe.
This is when a coach has to believe enough for all of them. Yes, he'll have to be a fantastic salesman to convince players his philosophy will work. But that's as important an assignment as any coach has. What we do will work, he must sell them, and it will work Nov. 4 at FedEx Field.
Most of you saw Chicago's 1-point victory.
Carolinas pass defense on Chicagos final drive was so accommodating that quarterback Jay Cutler looked like a guy leisurely throwing darts at an especially big dartboard.
Good coaches adjust. It was one of things former Panthers coach, and public enemy, John Fox did better than most.
Theres no indication Rivera can. Maybe he will. Hes been a head coach only 23 games. But I havent seen it. He could be Green Bay defensive coordinator Dom Capers, a brilliant assistant who failed in two attempts at head coach.
If Carolinas late-game defense was unfortunate, the decision not to go for a field goal at the end of the first half was bizarre.
Instead of kicking from 51 yards, the Panthers had Cam Newton throw a lob into the end zone. Except it wasnt a lob. Newton flung it above everybody. As we go to press, the ball has yet to land.
I ask Rivera Monday if the decision not to kick haunts him.
No, he says.
Rivera adds: The one thing I had the benefit of was the pregame, going out and watching the kickers and seeing how hard it was to kick the ball 50-plus yards and watching the ball get pushed all over the place. Thats where my decision came in.
One thing I would have hated to have done is take a shot on a kick like that and have him (kicker Justin Medlock) miss it and really, I guess, play with his head."
I disagree vehemently with the decision. Medlock went five of five in the Chicago wind. He should have had the opportunity to go six of six.
Yes, hes a rookie. But hes 29 years old and has a powerful leg. If his head is a problem, find a bigger helmet or bring back Olindo Mare.
Last season was free for Rivera, free of scrutiny and free of pressure. The Panthers were up and coming and better than they had been and everybody liked and respected the new coach, although many will deny it now.
The Panthers have nine games remaining and likely will be underdogs in at least six.
Washington, Tampa Bay, Philadelphia, Kansas City, San Diego, Oakland and New Orleans are among the opponents. Are they really so imposing?
If Carolina has the talent to consistently stay close, it has the talent to win.
I dont know.