There's no denying Ron Rivera cares. Too often Carolina's head coach has been over-analyzed on the sideline, his demeanor watched with eagle eyes, and critiqued for his bedside manner. There has been an unfair evaluation of him as passive, or lacking edge -- simply because he isn't frothing at the mouth like Rex Ryan and Jim Harbaugh every week. Speaking to the media today we got more of Ron Rivera, an honest, no-nonsense coach who isn't sure what the future holds for him.
Calling yesterday's victory a 'convincing win' Rivera believes yesterday's drubbing better represents who the Panthers are than their early-season struggles. When asked about his job status Rivera said he was unsure, but that Jerry Richardson has been open and honest with him throughout the season, though he didn't go into too much more detail. Interestingly Rivera said that is was his belief that Jerry Richardson, and not the new incoming general manager would decide his fate. This is slightly worrying if true, only because it's far better for a new GM to have free reign to make decisions as they see fit.
When probed a little more about what has changed this season Ron Rivera was honest about his strengths and shortcomings. The Carolina head coach said that he'd put his knowledge of X's and O's "up with anyone", but acknowledged that his game management has been lacking -- something he's improved on in recent weeks. When asked if the Panthers should have had a former head coach on staff to support/mentor him, to which he responded "maybe".
Ryan Kalil's Superbowl ad also came to the forefront, and Rivera responded by saying he believed the ad put more pressure on the organization. Initially Rivera publicly said he supported the move, but behind the scenes it looks like Kalil's move did more harm than good.
There are a lot of charges you can throw at Ron Rivera, but it's clear he cares. With two weeks left we'll see if that's enough to win over Jerry Richardson, and live to coach in 2013.