Monday, January 10, 2011

Ron Rivera, random thoughts

Been a week, but things to discuss....

The Panthers should have Ron Rivera in place at some point on Tuesday. Nothing finalized as of this blog post, but all indications are the Panthers will nab the man that designed the best defense in the NFL for the 2010 season. It was a 3-4 defense, but don't read anything into that. Personnel in San Diego seemed to dictate that. Rivera is a versatile coach, and offers the former player perspective, as he was a solid linebacker in the league for 9 seasons.

This has been a quick process for the Panthers, considering it was this time last week that owner Jerry Richardson addressed (albeit a little strangely), the media following the end of the season. The Panthers obviously wanted to move quickly on this hire, and in doing so, they can now focus their attention on the April draft. What this means for the number 1 pick is still anybody's guess. The coveted QB (Andrew Luck) is staying in school at Stanford, leaving the Panthers to figure out what direction they want to go in with that number 1 selection. Rivera in the mix could mean a defensive lineman, but that isn't the biggest area of need.

Then there is the question of assistant coaches. Maybe bigger than the top draft pick is the naming of an offensive coordinator. If there was one thing I took away from the Richardson presser, it was the recognition that the NFL has opened up, and a good offense (better than good actually), is a must. If there was one shortcoming of the John Fox era, it was the decision to go conservative more often than not. Yes, there was some deviation from that at times, but the standard draw play on 3rd and long trickled down from Dan Henning to Jeff Davidson, with one constant. Fox. Funny thing is, under Henning, I felt things were vanilla. After Henning's departure, I realized how differently things ran (and how much better as well).

I'll have more for you once Rivera is officially sworn in. Seems like a guy Panther fans will warm up to quickly, and luckily for him, Panther fans should be forgiving in the early going.

Elsewhere, Charlotte Bobcats are 4-2 since the coaching change with Paul Silas taking over after Larry Brown's departure, and the players continue to say that under Brown, it wasn't fun. They are enjoying the game more, and it shows on the floor. The trick will be continuing the run, even with the NBA trade deadline on the horizon. I wouldn't be surprised if the Bobcats make a deal to shore the roster up, especially with them being down a big man (DeSagana Diop is done for the season after an achilles injury).

Note to Oregon football: please pick a uniform and stick with it. It's nice that you roll out a new combination every week, but seriously, when is enough enough? All my life, Oregon was green and gold (yellow). Try that out, and I don't know, try it again the following week.

Mike Solarte

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