5 coaches the Panthers need to consider to replace Ron Rivera
The Carolina Panthers have decided to fire Ron Rivera after the head coach spent nine years with the organization. During his time with the Panthers, Rivera had a respectable regular-season record of 76-63-1.
The former NFL linebacker also led Carolina to the playoffs in four of his nine seasons—including a Super Bowl appearance in 2015. Since then though, the Panthers have gone 29-31 in the past four seasons combined.
Most recently, it was a 29-21 loss to the 2-9 Washington Redskins that was the last straw for owner David Tepper. With that in mind, who are the five best coaches that the Panthers need to consider to replace Rivera?
5. Josh McDaniels
Josh McDaniels has held a head coaching job in the NFL before when he was with the Denver Broncos from 2009-2010. In his short time with the Broncos, McDaniels led Denver to a downtrodden 11-17 record before he could even finish his second season at the position.
Yes, as bad as his first stint as a head coach was, he’s now had 11 years under Bill Belichick as the New England Patriots’ offensive coordinator. It’s hard not to believe that a team gives McDaniels a chance to redeem himself due to his affiliation with New England.
Bringing in an offensive mind like McDaniels would also help groom a young quarterback like Kyle Allen.
4. Kris Richard
The Dallas Cowboys technically have two defensive coordinators in Rod Marinelli and Kris Richard. But among them, Richard is the one who has been long overdue at an opportunity at being a head coach in the NFL.
Richard, who was instrumental in the Seattle Seahawks’ ability to create the ‘Legion of Boom’, has instilled a culture on defense in Dallas. The former defensive backs coach for the Seahawks have covered up plenty of shortcomings on the Cowboys’ defense the past couple of seasons.
Replacing Rivera with a defensive-minded coach could make sense if Norv Turner remains as the offensive coordinator.
3. Kevin Stefanski
The Minnesota Vikings have played exponentially better on offense in 2019 than they did in 2018. A ton of the credit should be given to Kevin Stefanski, the offensive coordinator of the Vikings.
For the majority of the 2018 season, John DeFilippo was Minnesota’s offensive coordinator. Due to the offense struggling, they chose to promote Stefanski to the position to end the 2018 season.
In a short amount of time, Stefanski has helped turn around the Vikings’ offense by incorporating a system that heavily utilizes the running back.
2. Robert Saleh
The one name that has popped up as a potential coaching candidate in 2020 is San Francisco 49ers’ defensive coordinator Robert Saleh. Saleh has held the position since 2017 but has finally received a group that he’s been able to maximize his scheme with.
This season, the 49ers rank at or near the top in just about every category on the defensive side of the ball. While Nick Bosa and Dee Ford have terrorized quarterbacks, Saleh has received plenty of screen time with his fiery coaching style.
Maybe an energetic and competitive coach is exactly what the Panthers need to revert back to being a contender in the NFC South.
1. Eric Bieniemy
For the past couple of years, Eric Bienemy’s name has been mentioned as an assistant coach who could receive head coaching offers. While Andy Reid calls the plays for the Kansas City Chiefs, Bienemy is the de facto offensive coordinator.
Over the years, Reid has produced quite a few successful head coaches (including Rivera himself). In recent seasons, Matt Nagy, Doug Pederson, and Sean McDermott have had success after previously working under Reid.
The Panthers could use a fresh, innovative mind to provide a spark on the offensive side of the ball.