If you weren't on the "Fire Ron Rivera Bandwagon" before Sunday's loss to the Buffalo Bills, you probably are now -- and things are getting pretty cramped. As I type this, Fire Ron Rivera is trending on Twitter.
And as the founding member of the movement, I have to admit I'm proud. Yeah, that's right, I'm taking credit as the first Panthers fan to want Rivera's head. If you can prove me wrong, I'll humbly hand over he title.
While most Panthers fans probably started to turn on Carolina's conservative coach last season after a 2-8 start, I turned a mere five games into his tenure. The Panthers were 1-4 and I was a little frustrated after a tough loss to the New Orleans Saints. So I took to Bleacher Report to skewer Rivera. The title: "Carolina Panthers: Ron Rivera Is Not Head-Coaching Material."
I don't want to toot my own horn, but I nailed that one.
Here's what I wrote back then:
Ron Rivera waited a long time to get a head-coaching job in the NFL. It didn't take long to realize he doesn't have what it takes to do the job.
Between the atrocious clock management and lack of discipline, the Panthers have the look of a poorly coached team.
They are 1-4. With a competent coach, they could very easily be 4-1.
Rivera's lack of coaching prowess was on full display during the Carolina Panther's narrow defeat at the hands of the New Orleans Saints.
People will talk about the inexplicable timeout at the end of the first half that, essentially, gifted the Saints three points, but the more egregious display of coaching were the timeouts he didn't use. With Drew Brees and company picking the Panthers defense apart and the clock winding down, Rivera decided not to use his timeouts and save time for the offense to mount a game-winning drive of its own.
There are so many problems with this strategy, I don't even know where to start. The Saints had the ball in the red zone with over two minutes left in the game. They clearly were not going to run out of time before they had a chance to score, so using those timeouts would do nothing to help the Saints. Not only would using the timeouts there give his offense time to mount a comeback, but it would also give his defense a much-needed breath and break up the rhythm of a high-tempo offense.
Instead of having about two minutes to mount a game-winning or -tying drive, the team had 50 seconds. Yes, Carolina had all three timeouts, but he used only one to stop the clock on the last drive. Good thing he saved them. Any coach will tell you, you can't end the game with timeouts in your pocket--especially when you end up running out of time.
This is Clock Management 101.
However, should we expect more from a guy who kicked to Devin Hester twice? How do you make that mistake twice?
And how do you not give DeAngelo Williams more than nine carries when he is averaging 10 yards per carry? I know he's not calling plays, but he is the head coach.
He was hired based on his ability to coach a defense. The Panthers defense is at the bottom of the league.
What is this guy good for?
What has he brought to the team?
His defense is terrible, his team commits stupid penalties, his team cannot manage the clock to save its life and he makes a mess out of some of the more basic coaching decisions that any head coach has to make.
The Panthers have the talent to contend for a playoff spot.
Unfortunately, they don't have the coach.
It's pretty depressing how Rivera is making those same mistakes two years later.
I pretty much got blasted in the comments section. I'd say I got the last laugh, but the hell Panthers fans have been put through over the last three season is really a laughing matter.