Panthers extend HC Ron Rivera through 2017
On the heels of his great season, the Panthers organization has rewarded their recently successful head coach. Rivera has reportedly signed a three-year contract extension with the Panthers that will keep him in Carolina through the 2017 season. The financial details of the contract are not yet known.
Coming from a defensive background, Rivera was expected to find success by turning the Panthers' defense around. The unit ranked 26th in points allowed the year before Rivera was brought in, but regressed to 27th in Rivera's first season on the job. In 2012, however, the Panthers improved to the 18th scoring defense, then absolutely dominated in 2013, ranking second in both points and yards allowed. The only defense that put up better numbers was the Seattle Seahawks, who are being talked about as one of the great defenses of NFL history.
With a sensational core of young defenders such as Luke Kuechly, Greg Hardy, Charles Johnson, Captain Munnerlyn, Star Lotulelei, and Kawann Short (the list goes on and on), the Panthers should be able to at least replicate their 2013 dominance, and possibly even improve upon it. Rivera has done a phenomenal job of developing his young defensive talent, and the front office will continue to feed him players to turn into studs.
As far as offense, Rivera may not have quite as much to do with that side of the ball as the team's offensive coordinator, but he still plays a part as the head coach. Franchise quarterback Cam Newton has shown steady improvement in each of his three NFL seasons. He has improved both his passer rating and touchdown to interception ratio in each year as a pro. Newton is essential to the franchise, so his ability to grow as a passer was certainly a factor in deciding whether to extend Rivera.
Rivera has plenty of tools to succeed and has proven capable of leading a team to victories, so there is no reason to think that the Panthers won't be racking up wins in 2014 and beyond.