|More than a season is at stake for the struggling Carolina Panthers|
|As losses mount, jobs are on the line|
|Published Sunday, December 1, 2019 6:00 pm|
|PHOTO |CURTIS WILSON|
|Carolina Panthers cornerback Donte Jackson and Washington receiver Jeremy Sprinkle battle for the ball Sunday at Bank of America Stadium. Washington won 29-21 to extend the Panthers' losing streak to four games.|
It’s firing time for the Carolina Panthers.
A team that looked impressive on paper at the start of the season has found ways to combust to a 5-7 record with four games to play. In the offseason, they acquired All-Pro defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and hybrid linebacker/defensive end Bruce Irvin to help the transition to a 3-4 defense. Their offensive future seemed secure in the hands of record-breaking running back Christian McCaffrey and young playmakers in receivers Curtis Samuel and D.J. Moore. Yet the Panthers are on a four-game losing streak. Speculation about coach Ron Rivera’s job security has gone from whispers to direct inquiries by media and fans.
“I’m not worried about my future,” Rivera said after Sunday’s 29-21 loss to Washington. “I’m worried about this football team’s future.”
Said Samuel: “We’re not really focused on anybody’s job. We’re just trying to go out there and win games. Win games for our team. Win games for coach. Nobody likes the feeling of losing. We’re not worried about whose job is on the line. Our focus is just going out there each and every week and trying to win games.”
Losing to the struggling Redskins (3-9) added insult to injury for the ailing Panthers. McCaffrey led their abysmal run game with 14 carries for 44 yards, the third time he has run for less than 50 yards this season while the team had a total 20 carries for 65 yards. In addition to a quiet game for McCaffrey, veteran tight end Greg Olsen left with a concussion in the third quarter when Washington linebacker Ryan Anderson hit him helmet-to-helmet, subsequently causing Anderson’s ejection.
“I talked to Greg,” Rivera said. “He feels much better.”
Looking at quarterback Kyle Allen, who had four carries for 22 yards and a touchdown and completed 27-of-46 passes for 278 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, as the source of the offense’s struggles is superficial. While the young quarterback has been inconsistent since taking over in week three when starter Cam Newton went down with a foot injury, Allen is not their only weakness.
Carolina’s struggles in the red zone include but are not limited to Allen. A lack of protection from the offensive line has been a longstanding issue, but with a quarterback as athletic as Newton, they got away with it. Allen is not nearly as athletic, nor efficient, which he showed in their loss to Washington with seven sacks.
“I just felt like we just kept taking turns making mistakes, and that’s unacceptable,” Allen said. “Poor performance all the way through. For us to come out that way like we did the first few drives [scoring on the first two] and play that way the rest of the game, it’s not good.”
Said Rivera: “I’m very frustrated. I know the players are very frustrated.”
Despite the revolving door of players on both sides of the ball, the players consider their poor performance intolerable.
“Every guy is here for a reason because they can play, but there is no excuse,” defensive end Mario Addison said. “If you’re here and you suit up, you gotta know your job.”
Carolina’s final four regular season games are split between the road and home. They head to Atlanta on Dec. 8 and Indianapolis on Dec. 22, host the Seahawks on Dec. 15 and wrap the regular season on Dec. 29 against New Orleans. The next four games will decide who has a job with this franchise in 2020.
|Ron Rivera, the O/C and the D/C should ABSOLUTELY be fired. Every week it's the exact same effort, especially playing at home. FIRE ALL PARTIES INVOLVE.|
|Posted on December 1, 2019|
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