While Panthers coach Ron Rivera believes a strong finish is crucial for his team’s confidence heading into next season, he’s not sure if winning three of the last four games will be enough to save his job.
“I think we have to keep going,” Rivera said.
By that he means it’s important the Panthers beat Oakland and New Orleans to finish the season 7-9, which would better last year’s record by one game.
Carolina (5-9) enjoyed its first blowout win Sunday, crushing San Diego 31-7. That came one week after a decisive 30-20 upset win over Atlanta.
After Panthers owner Jerry Richardson fired general manager Marty Hurney following a 1-5 start, he told Rivera the team needed to be “trending upward” the rest of the way for him to keep his job.
The Panthers are 4-4 since.
However, the latest stretch — one in which second-year Cam Newton has combined for 13 touchdowns in the last five games without a turnover — provides a bit of promise for the future and could convince Richardson to give Rivera another shot.
“This isn’t about a couple of good wins or emotional wins,” Rivera said of his own future. “It’s really about the whole body of work.”
Rivera said Monday that he’s under the impression that Richardson, not the team’s future GM, will make the decision on the coaching staff’s future.