The Carolina Panthers fired head coach Ron Rivera on Tuesday, and while the timing was a bit of a shock, the decision itself is not surprising to Panthers fans. New owner David Tepper was clearly not pleased with the direction of the team, and losing to Washington this past week would appear to have been the last straw.
The question now is who will be the next head coach. The Panthers are the
first team to fire their head coach (completely forgot Washington fired Jay Gruden!), and while they won’t be interviewing candidates for a while, they are in position to begin the arduous process of finding a replacement with all their cards on the table.
In the team’s press release announcing the decision, Tepper explained the upcoming plan in fairly broad strokes.
“We are going to take a comprehensive and thorough review of our football operation to make sure we are structured for long-term sustained success,” continued Tepper. “Our vision is to find the right mix of old-school discipline and toughness with modern and innovative processes. We will consider a wide range of football executives to complement our current football staff. One change that we will implement is hiring an assistant general manager and vice president of football operations. We all must recognize that this is the first step in a process, but we are committed to building and maintaining a championship culture for our team and our fans.”
Perry Fewell as been named interim head coach, offensive coordinator Norv Turner is transitioning to a special assistant to the head coach role, and Scott Turner — Norv’s son — is going to become OC.
All three likely will get at least a look as potential replacements for Rivera, but there will be a host of candidates to consider as the season comes to an end. Here are a few that could be on the radar for Carolina.
- Robert Saleh, San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator
- Josh McDaniels, New England Patriots offensive coordinator
- Lincoln Riley, Oklahoma head coach
- John DeFilippo, Jacksonville Jaguars offensive coordinator
- Eric Bieniemy, Chiefs offensive coordinator
- Kevin Stefanski, Vikings offensive coordinator
- Kris Richard, Cowboys defensive backs coach/passing game coordinator
Most of these names will not be available until January at the earliest, but it’s the start of a list that will only grow as December progresses.