After nine years in Carolina, and just three winning seasons, the Carolina Panthers have parted ways with head coach, Ron Rivera. This was a decision many of us saw coming after Carolina lost their franchise quarterback Cam Newton due to injury mismanagement and subsequently slipped in the standings, now losing 4 straight games, 5 in their last 6, with no answers or direction for the future.
All we can do now is thank Rivera for the memories that he brought to this young franchise and look forward to see who can help us reach the promise land. It’s quite clear that Panthers owner David Tepper wants this franchise to be successful, he’s been on record plenty of times saying his goal is to win a Super Bowl. He just added a empty case for the Lombardi Trophy that he doesn’t have yet. A sign to his entire staff of why they are there.
His next decision regarding the head coaching vacancy will dictate just how badly he wants to obtain this goal. So let’s do our part by listing some candidates we think are fit for the job.
“Our vision is to find the right mix of old school discipline and toughness with modern and innovative process” – David Tepper
So who fits this new Panther way?
Not ranked in any particular order
- Lincoln Riley – Head Coach – Oklahoma Sooners
If you follow me on the Twitter world, you may know that I have been heavily advocating for Coach Riley as the Panthers next coach. That was just jokes and games before, but now it’s serious.
In his three years at Oklahoma he’s turned them into an absolute offensive powerhouse. Something that, sure, is kind of normal in the BIG 12, but his offense is just different. He currently is responsible for back to back Heisman winners with Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray winning the award and should more than likely have a finalist this season with the numbers that Jalen Hurts has put up. He’s on the brink of entering the college football playoffs but needs a few things to go his way this upcoming weekend if he’s to get the nod from the committee.
Oklahoma has ranked first in the NCAA in yards per game for the past three seasons and have been scoring over 45 points a game in each season. He had Shane Carden come close to throwing 5,000 yards in a season at ECU. He works miracles with these quarterbacks. The things he could do with Newton (assuming the organization is smart enough to keep him) could be out of this world. Prying him away from Oklahoma could be a tough task, but lets be real, you’re not winning the big one there.
2. Greg Roman – Offensive Coordinator – Baltimore Ravens
What Greg Roman has been able to do with Lamar Jackson and the Ravens offense this season has been nothing short of spectacular. Last season many were suspect of Jackson’s accuracy, there was a point where he had thrown -2 passing yards for like 3 1/2 quarters during the playoff lost last year to the Chargers.
In steps Roman who was promoted to offensive coordinator after Marty Mornhinweg departed last offseason, and Jackson has taken one of the largest leaps at the quarterback position we’ve ever seen and is now the likely candidate to win the MVP. However, creating elite weapons at quarterback isn’t new work for Roman. I’m sure many of us remember when Colin Kaepernick was running circles around the league for a period of time.
Roman was actually with Carolina for his first job as an offensive line assistant, so maybe his return is destined.
3. Eric Bienemy – Offensive Coordinator – Kansas City Chiefs
A hot name that’s going around the market. Eric Bienemy, the current offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs offense currently ranks as the #4 total offense in the league and that’s with former MVP Patrick Mahomes missing some time to a knee injury. Former Panther legend Matt Moore stepped in and they only skipped half a beat. Last season the Chiefs ranked first int total offense, beating out the LA Rams who people were calling the second coming of the greatest show on turf.
A lot of people will say this has a lot to due with Andy Reid and the overall brilliance of Patrick Mahomes, and they aren’t wrong. But, Bienemy plays a massive role as well. Reid praises the work he’s done and he has played a key role in helping develop Mahomes into the super star that he is today.
4. Matt Rhule – Head Coach – Baylor Bears
Matt Rhule may be an unfamiliar name to a lot of people but it’s one that I would be paying close attention to as a Panther fan. Rhule is the current head coach over at Baylor and has his Bears sitting at 11-1 and ranked at 7th in the NCAA. Right on the outside looking in at the college football playoffs. If they can beat Riley’s Oklahoma and have a game or two swing there way this weekend, the Bears might be in. This is is especially crazy to think about because just two years ago during Rhule’s first season, the Bears went 1-11. A complete turnaround and one that should be heavily applauded. Baylor was in a dark place a few years ago for a multitude of reasons but Rhule has completely changed the culture over there.
Rhule has spent time coaching just about every position on the football field at the collegiate level. Linebacks, D-Line, O-Line, quarterbacks, special teams, offensive coordinator, and now head coach. If you can combine that expertise with stud coordinators, you may be in very good shape for the future. I can see him being Tepper’s guy.
5. David Shaw – Head Coach – Stanford Cardinals
A name that’s been on the market for quite some time now is Stanford’s, David Shaw. He was heavily involved with Andrew Luck’s collegiate success and was the man in charge during our own Christian McCaffrey’s reign. Even as a offensive coordinator under Jim Harbaugh in 2007-2010, Shaw was seen a premier coaching candidate receiving a lot of interest from NFL teams. I’m unsure how much interest is still there but if there were to be a time for him to leave Stanford it seems like this would be the year.
Shaw’s Cardinals have been on a downward spiral the past few years and this is the first year that they won’t be bowl eligible as they’ve finished the season at just 4-8. Shaw could be in a situation similar to Rivera in which it’s just time for the team to go in a direction. I doubt he’ll be fired, but this could be Shaw’s thought process. Shaw has five bowl victories on his resume including two Rose Bowl wins, and barring this season Stanford has been competitive and ranking high in the NCAA in every single season he’s been in charge.
Some other names we like here at the QG:
- Nick Sirianni – OC – Indianapolis Colts
- Mike LaFleur – Passing Game Coordinator- San Francisco 49ers
- Robert Saleh – DC – San Francisco 49ers
- Kellen Moore – OC – Dallas Cowboys
- Kevin Stefanski – OC – Minnesota Vikings
- Josh McDaniels – OC – New England Patriots
- Perry Fewell – Interim HC – Carolina Panthers (don’t sleep on this)