Monday, October 7, 2013
Who might be next Panthers HC?
By Tom Carpenter
On Friday, I pegged Ron Rivera as one of the three coaches most in danger of losing his job in the near future. That was before his Carolina Panthers took it on the chin with a 22-6 loss to the Arizona Cardinals and before NFL Network's Ian Rapoport cited sources Sunday morning that the Panthers "have begun laying groundwork for a possible coaching search, doing background checks on candidates. 1 candidate knows."
Even if Rivera is fired during the season, they likely won't tag a permanent replacement until after the season. It seems unlikely that they'll promote defensive coordinator Sean McDermott or offensive coordinator Mike Shula without an interim tag. There are myriad other coaches that general manager Dave Gettleman could approach as the long-term replacement. Here are a few options, including one who is the most logical choice.
- New York Giants DC Perry Fewell: It would be surprising if one of Gettleman's first targets isn't Fewell. Before joining the Panthers, Gettleman spent 15 years with the Giants, who have had Fewell as their DC since 2010. Despite the woes we've seen from the Giants D this season, Fewell has a lot of respect on and off the field in the NFL and would probably be the most logical choice to replace Rivera.
- Washington Redskins OC Kyle Shanahan: So far this season, the Panthers D has looked good and most of the woes have come from the offense. Shanahan helped implement an offense that let Robert Griffin III explode on the scene in 2012. If Gettleman thinks that Shanahan could get Newton to become a consistent threat in that system, hiring the younger Shanny could be a smart move.
- Former Bears HC Lovie Smith: If Gettleman is looking to provide his team with stability at the top, this might be a no-brainer move. There would be obvious concerns from the fans about whether the defensive-minded coach would be able to get the best out of Newton, but Smith's professionalism and ability to work well with his players could assuage those concerns for Gettleman.