Posted December 31, 2012 on
AP on Fox
New York Giants
While several coaches around the NFL found themselves without a job Monday, the Carolina Panthers' Ron Rivera escaped unscathed - at least for now.
Rivera's future remains twisting pending the outcome of a postseason meeting with owner Jerry Richardson. It's unclear when that meeting will come.
Richardson remained mum on the second -year coach's status one day after the Panthers won their fourth straight game to finish 7-9, a one-game improvement over 2011. He declined comment on Rivera's job security through the public relations staff.
Rivera said Monday at a news conference he hasn't spoken to Richardson about his future since Sunday's 44-38 victory at New Orleans, but indicated that the meeting is upcoming.
''What I was told is Mr. Richardson and I will sit down and discuss things and we'll go from there,'' Rivera said. ''I can't tell you anything more than that. I do look forward to the opportunity to meet with him and discuss this.''
Rivera has two years left on his contract.
Richardson might hire a general manager to get his input before deciding Rivera's fate.
Richardson can now begin interviewing potential GM candidates from teams whose seasons are complete.
He hired former New York Giants general manager Ernie Accorsi to serve as a consultant for the GM search. Potential candidates include Giants college scouting director Marc Ross, Giants senior pro personnel analyst Dave Gettleman, and Panthers interim GM Brandon Beane.
Longtime Panthers GM Marty Hurney was fired after the team's 1-5 start and the owner put Rivera on notice at that point. Richardson told Rivera at the time the Panthers needed to be ''trending upward'' the rest of the season.
The Panthers went 6-4 the rest of the way.
They finished strong, winning five of their last six games, including a convincing 30-20 victory over the NFC's top seeded Atlanta Falcons, despite the fact they had five starters and 14 players overall on injured reserve.
''I like where we are and I like the things that we have done,'' Rivera said. ''I believe we are better now than when I first got here. And it's a job that I would like to have.''
Rivera spent Monday in exit interviews with his players and his staff.
Players said Rivera didn't discuss his future during their brief 10-minute meeting at Bank of America Stadium on Monday morning.
''He didn't mention it,'' offensive lineman Geoff Hangartner said. ''He just said thanks for the hard work this season and finishing the season on a strong note. That's kind of where it was left.''
Several players said they want Rivera to return.
''I think the way we finished the year shows how we feel about coach Rivera and the coaching staff,'' Hangartner said. ''We've all seen teams start 2-8 and finish 2-14 or 3-13. I think the way the guys prepared and finished on the note we did shows something.''
The Panthers haven't had a winning record since 2008 and haven't won a playoff game since 2005.
Does Richardson has the patience to stick with Rivera, 13-19 in two seasons, or does he cut ties with a coach who is 2-13 in games decided by seven points or less?
Despite failing to reach the postseason, there were several bright spots for the Panthers. The offense finished in high gear after struggling in the early part of the season, while the defense was strong throughout despite losing four starters.
The Panthers saw the continued development of second-year quarterback Cam Newton, particularly in the final six games when he completed 66 percent of his passes for 1,474 yards with 10 touchdowns and only two interceptions. Newton also ran for 347 yards and four scores during that span.
Overall, Newton's numbers were on par with his rookie year, throwing for 3,869 yards passing with 19 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He ran for 741 yards and eight touchdowns, down from his NFL-record of 14 TDs last season when he was voted Offensive Rookie of the Year.
''The biggest thing is he took a lot of the pressure off himself and we tried to help him take that pressure off,'' Rivera said. ''I think he got to the point where he realized he didn't have to make every play. And upon that realization you just saw that development as far as understanding things schematically, understanding the opponent he was to attack, and working on his base fundamentals. His footwork improved and his pocket presence improved.''
There were other standouts.
Middle linebacker Luke Kuechly became the first rookie to lead the NFL in tackles (164) since San Francisco's Patrick Willis in 2007. Kuechly moved to middle linebacker five games into the season and the Panthers went from 24th in the league in overall defense to 10th.
Ends Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy became the first Panthers tandem to get double digits in sacks in a decade. Receiver Steve Smith finished with his seventh 1,000-yard season. DeAngelo Williams ran for a franchise-record 210 yards in the season finale.
Rivera said it's been tough not knowing his future, but added, ''it is part of the process we're going through and we'll see how this thing unfolds.''
Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL
BEST OF MAXIM
Even though the Carolina Panthers finished strong this season, they’re expected to fire head coach Ron Rivera, according to Michael Lomnbardi of the NFL Network.
Also from @michaelombardi: Ron Rivera expected to be fired today. #blackmonday
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) December 31, 2012
I don’t think this is a great move, but with the Panthers now having to bring in a new general...
OUT OF NOWHERE
"Photobombing" is quite the unique skill, requiring impeccable timing and an exuberant personality. Aaron Rodgers is generally regarded as the NFL's top photobomber, spurring a website dedicated to his greatest hits.
It turns out Cam Newton isn't half bad, either.
The Carolina Panthers quarterback was caught bombing a television interview between "Panthers...
When NFL coaches and players are asked to describe Cam Newton as a football player, you’ll most likely hear phrases like “high ceiling” and “limitless upside.”
There’s another Carolina Panther who has inspired the same type of praise – except he plays defense…and he’s a rookie.
Linebacker is not only having one of the best rookie seasons in the NFL, he’s having...
Carolina linebacker Luke Kuechly had the most tackles in the NFL this season and it wasn't even close. After Kuechly's 164 tackles, the next highest total belonged to 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman with 149 tackles.Fantasy Spin:Kuechly's strong play was a huge reason why the Panthers were able to go from 28th in the NFL in total defense last season to 10th this season...
Hiring a general manager and making a decision on whether to keep head coach Ron Rivera are the two most pressing issues facing the Carolina Panthers, as the franchise shifts into offseason mode.
But it cant go too far until the vacant GM position is filled and a decision gets made with Rivera. Once owner Jerry Richardson settles on who will run his team on and off the field, the...
DeAngelo Williams wants to remain in Carolina.
The Panthers' all-time leading rusher said despite getting benched in Week 7 and not playing a major role on offense for most of the season he hopes to return for an eighth year in Carolina.
''I signed a five-year contract, so that in itself lets you know I want to be back,'' Williams said.
But Williams, who turns...
Carolina has scratched defensive end Greg Hardy from Sunday's season finale against New Orleans.
Hardy leads the Panthers with 11 sacks. He was not injured but excused from practices during the week for a family matter and was listed as questionable.
The Saints deactivated linebacker Scott Shanle, who concludes his seventh season with the club as a healthy scratch for the eighth...
NEW ORLEANS - Cam Newton kept handing off to DeAngelo Williams on Sunday, and then all he could see was the back of his No. 34 jersey, heading downfield through gaping holes against the worst defense in NFL history. Picking apart what statistically qualifies as the most porous defense in league annals, Williams rushed for a franchise-record 210 yards on 21 carries, and the Carolina...
Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams had his best game of the season with 210 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries Sunday against the Saints.Fantasy Spin:Williams finished the season strong with 445 rushing yards, 139 receiving yards and four
touchdowns in his final five games, and it could have been even better if he
didn't have a 70-plus yard touchdown called back last week.
NEW ORLEANS -- Drew Brees made more NFL history, but so did the Saints' defense in an undesirable way, and the Carolina Panthers rallied to a 44-38 victory Sunday.
DeAngelo Williams rushed for 210 yards, including touchdown runs of 54 and 12 yards, for Carolina (7-9), which has won four straight. His 65-yard gain set up the first of three 1-yard scoring runs by Mike Tolbert...
Carolina Panthers (6-9) at New Orleans Saints (7-8)
Aside from this being a divisional matchup, this is a completely meaningless game for these two teams. Both are out of the playoffs. I have a rule against making significant plays on completely meaningless games. If the teams might not care about a game, I shouldn’t either. There’s just no way to predict what kind of effort...
NEW ORLEANS -- Picking apart what officially qualifies as the worst defense in NFL history, DeAngelo Williams rushed for 210 yards on 21 carries and the Carolina Panthers rolled up 530 yards in total offense and scored 28 consecutive second-half points to points to defeat the New Orleans Saints 44-38 Sunday at the Mercedes Benz Superdome. The Panthers' offensive output added...