(Disclaimer: This may or may not be true and may not even matter if it is. I am just trying to reason as to why the team’s performance varies so much)
Maybe Rivera is actually a really good coach cursed with two terrible assistant coaches. Now stay with me for a minute...
Last year, the Panthers finished the season ranked 7th on offense and 28th on defense. Maybe that is because our rookie head coach, who was/is known for defense, spent all of his efforts working with Chudzinski on the offense since this has been a Panther’s weakness for a while. This would make sense because, RR was also probably a little weak on offense himself because he never worked in this capacity before. We also had a rookie quarterback coming into a system with no off-season while the defense was made up largely of experienced players with a strong field general in Beason. Meanwhile, while Rivera focused his attention on the offense, the defense floundered with a new defensive coordinator who had just been fired by his previous team. The Panthers also lost player after player on defense due to injury, including the team leader.
Maybe this year, Rivera focused all his efforts on the defense and working with McDermott. The defense improved steadily week to week and is currently ranked 15th and rising. But the offense lapsed into poor play without RR's attention and is currently ranked 23rd and falling. Maybe, a few games ago when we played Dallas and Chicago, RR switched his focus back to offense, which is why Cam and company looked like a whole different team. The Panthers looked better by almost beating two good football teams in Dallas and Chicago and then did notch their second win against the Skins and their 6th ranked offense.
This week RR might have shifted back to the defensive side because he thought he had straightened out Chud and the offense. Also, Peyton and Company have been playing very good football which required his attention. But Chud, for whatever reason, relapsed and did his own thing. The offense looked ugly.
So if my theory is right, RR Is a BAMF (the Good) after all and has two very problematic assistants. If MickieD (the Bad) can learn from RR and implement Rivera’s game plan, then McDermott will continue to do well without RR hovering over him and gets to coach another year. If I am right about Chud (the Ugly), RR needs to fire him immediately and either promote Shula or another current Panthers coach or hire somebody from outside. The benefit of doing this now, is that Rivera can groom a new OC for the rest of the year. This will be very important because RR and company will be on a very short leash next year, if they make it to next year, so his offense will need to click at the beginning of the new season. If MickieD reverts back to bad coaching as well, then RR is probably doomed.
If I were Rivera, I would;
- Fire Chud immediantly.
- Promote a new OC (probably Shula).
- Beg the Big Cat for another year with this argument that the new coaching staff actually shows promise and has some late season wins to prove it. (If my theory is right, they will improve and win some games before the end of the season.)