Following Carolina’s terrible defeat against their NFC South rivals, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Carolina Panthers are now looking for answers as they have fired defensive line coach, Brady Hoke, and assistant defensive backs coach, Jeff Imamura.
Carolina has found themselves in a horrible spot after starting their season 6-2, losing now four straight games and now sit at 6-6 as they prepare to travel to Cleveland to take on the Browns. Once considered a lock to hold onto the top wildcard spot in the NFC, it is looking more and more likely that the Panthers will definitely miss out on this years postseason.
This pair of firings comes after the news reported by CBS Sports, Jason La Canfora, that Carolina’s new owner, David Tepper, is growing unsettled with the results that the team has been putting out recently, and is beginning to consider searching for candidates to replace Ron Rivera as head coach.
It’s likely these firings are a signal to Panthers ownership that Rivera and staff recognize that they’re on the hot seat and are trying to show that they are willing to make moves to correct the direction of this team. Tepper comes from a winning organization in the Pittsburgh Steelers, and you can bet he’s ready to right this ship as quickly as possible to get this team into winning shape.
Following the firings, defensive coordinator, Eric Washington, has been demoted to being responsible for the defensive front seven, while Rivera will supposedly look over the secondary. I think this is a polite way of saying that Washington will no longer be in charge of calling the plays, as Rivera took over that responsibility mid way through the Tampa Bay game.
If things don’t turn around next week in Cleveland that should very well be the end for Rivera and company in Charlotte. Losing five straight games after starting 6-2 is inexcusable. The team isn’t focused, and simple mistakes are repetitively being made causing them to lose games they should easily be winning. It is hard to point fingers at one particular cause for this but one thing is for certain, it all starts at the top.