Originally written on Football Nation  |  Last updated 11/9/14
1. Ron Rivera Can this be won by default? That's what happened here. Most people would lean toward Mike Smith. I wouldn't. I'll get into the reasons I'm not the biggest Mike Smith fan in his section. As for Rivera, he's a solid coach that players will get behind. Perhaps the most important thing in the NFL is having a coach that players trust and can rally behind. Look what happened in San Francisco in Year One. Yes, their roster is loaded but you can't have a turnaround that quickly without a head coach having a huge impact. Rivera is a defensive mastermind, he's just missing the pieces. Drafting Luke Kuechly is a solid start, it gives them a tackling machine at MLB. While Kuechly won't make a ton of plays behind the line of scrimmage, he's a sound tackler in the middle of the field and the Panthers have needed that, especially with the Beason/Davis injury problems. If I were to place a bet on which coach in the NFC South sticks around the longest, I'd go all in on Rivera.Win-Loss:...
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