Panthers Thoughts – Week Thirteen: Good Riddance Rivera

Week 13 thoughts on the Carolina Panthers laughable performance against the Kansas City Chiefs. Plus longtime Chiefs fan and frequent guest writer Dustin James gives his thoughts on the game from the other perspective.

The Kansas City Chiefs entered Sunday as the worst team in the league, Brady Quinn as their quarterback, and emotionally wrecked after a murder/suicide tragedy at the stadium the day before. Luckily for them, they were playing Ron Rivera and the Carolina Panthers.

This defense is pathetic. Absolutely pathetic. To allow Brady Quinn to go 19/23 for 200 yards and 2 touchdowns, not to mention a scramble on third and eight to effectively end the game is a joke. The Chiefs offense hadn’t scored more than 20 points since week 4. Brady Quinn hadn’t thrown a touchdown since 2009. None of that mattered against this defense. They never got pressure on Quinn, they couldn’t stop Jamaal Charles from picking up at least five yards on every carry, and they couldn’t stop any receiver from being wide open on every throw. Besides Luke Kuechly, who would win defensive rookie of the year if he wasn’t handcuffed by a bunch of incompetence around him, no one on the defense showed up.

Ron Rivera was brought in because he was a defensive genius in Chicago and San Diego. Last season he got a pass because of the lack of off-season work outs and the fact that he was a first time head coach. I expected big improvements this year from the defense but instead they’ve gotten worse and Rivera has made absolutely no adjustments. He’s an absolute joke and I can’t wait for this season to end so I won’t have to see him on the Panthers sideline any more.

The offense played well, although they failed to put a drive together in the fourth quarter that could’ve put them ahead. I give the Chiefs defense a lot of credit as they really turned up the pressure in the fourth and got Cam Newton uncomfortable, but I also put some blame on Cam for not getting rid of the ball quicker. The biggest play of the game was probably Brandon LaFell’s drop in the third quarter when the team was down 14-17. Had he caught the ball, it would’ve been a sure touchdown to put the team up, and who knows how the game would’ve played out from there. Instead the Panthers had to punt, the Chiefs scored a touchdown on the ensuing possession and went up 24-14, which turned out to be the winning score.

I thought the Panthers season ended when they blew that game against the Atlanta Falcons way back in week four. I was right. This just solidified how bad it’s been this year. The team is playing for draft position now, and I wouldn’t mind if they didn’t win another game so their position gets better. Whatever happens the rest of this year is pretty much moot because I think this team will look a lot different next year. Cam Newton will be back, Steve Smith will be back, and Luke Kuechly will be back. Except for those three though, I couldn’t tell you who else the Panthers will retain. That’s how much of a losing stink these players have on them dating back to two years ago.

The most important thing is that Rivera will be gone. Good riddance to him.


“Why did I agree to do this?”

That was my first thought when I sat down to write about the Kansas City Chiefs/Carolina Panthers football game this past Sunday. As a lifelong Chiefs fan, I can honestly look you in the face and tell you that I had no intentions at all of watching this version of the Chiefs play anymore football this year. That feeling got even worse when I learned of the tragic news involving Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher shooting his girlfriend and then driving to Arrowhead Stadium and taking his own life in front of some of KC’s coaches. Not only was my favorite professional football team falling apart in front of my own eyes, but now one of the athletes I’m supposed to be cheering for was responsible for a horrendous act. After hearing this news, I remember thinking that there was no way the Chiefs were playing against Carolina on Sunday. I was wrong.

The Chiefs showed up to play against Carolina on Sunday and they actually were a team playing with a lot of heart, something that hasn’t happened much (if at all) this year. The Chiefs were able to beat the Panthers by simply not turning the ball over and not committing stupid penalties. It also helps that they were playing against Carolina’s defense and that allowed Brady Quinn to come out of the game looking like Tom Brady with 201 yards for 2 touchdown’s and a QB rating of 132. Chiefs fans shouldn’t read much into this game as sometimes it takes a tragedy to really get people up for a game. I honestly don’t see another winnable game on KC’s schedule for the remainder of the year and that’s why this team will end up with the #1 overall draft pick in next season’s NFL draft just months after I had them picked to win the AFC West (OOPS!!!!).

So, where did it all go wrong this season? Well, it starts and ends with the head coach and the absolutely atrocious quarterbacks that the Chiefs currently have on their roster. To this day, I have no idea how Romeo Crennel got the head coaching job for this team. Oh, because last year he motivated the Chiefs enough that they became the first team to beat the undefeated Green Bay Packers? Last year’s Chiefs team hated the former head coach Todd Haley to the point of where they just stopped playing for him. By the time Haley got fired and Romeo was named interim coach, those players were willing to play their asses off for anyone and I mean ANYONE! Yet somehow, Romeo was considered the big “savior” in Kansas City with the win over GB and a huge win over Denver in the last game of the season.

I’ve always thought Romeo was a great defensive coordinator, but the guy is not head coaching material and it’s been proven time and time again. His offenses have always been a dumpster fire and I just don’t see how NFL players can get up and play for this guy every week. It’s not like Romeo’s got the kind of personality that installs fear into his players and makes them play their asses off for the guy on a consistent basis. He’s known as kind of a quiet, soft-spoken, coach that the players respect. Well, that’s not what I’m looking for in my NFL head coach. I want a hard ass who doesn’t care if his players like him or not. There’s a reason guys like the Harbaugh’s, Bill Belichick, Mike Tomlin, and Tom Coughlin are successful in the league. They all have the “IT” factor and unfortunately for Romeo….he’s never going to have that.

It also helped last year’s team that the Chiefs had Kyle Orton as their QB after Matt Cassel went down with an injury. I know Orton’s not a franchise QB or anything, but he’s a lot better than any QB the Chiefs currently have on their roster and it still shocks me that the Chiefs let Orton go to the Cowboys and decided to replace him with the garbage can known as “Brady Quinn”. I’ve always been kind of hot and cold on Matt Cassel, and this year has fully convinced me that the guy is just not NFL starter material. His only successful season in Kansas City was when Charlie Weis was the offensive coordinator and everyone knows that Weis can get a lot more out of mediocre quarterbacks than most coaches can. For some reason though, every year I would trick myself into thinking that this will be another year where Cassel “figures things out” and has somewhat of a decent year. Wow, was I wrong. Cassel is easily having the worst statistical year of his career with only 6 touchdown passes with 12 interceptions and 9 fumbles. The guy is the pure definition of a junk player and will likely be the backup QB for someone like the Buffalo Bills next year.

That leaves us with the next question. If the Chiefs do decide to clean house and get rid of Romeo and Cassel…..who will they bring in? There are definitely tons of options out there for the Chiefs as far as head coaching candidates go. They could go after someone like Jon Gruden, Bill Cowher, Andy Reid (if he’s fired from Philly), Chip Kelly, or even someone like David Shaw from Stanford. Unfortunately none of those guys are probably realistic options and the Chiefs will end up hiring whoever is the offensive/defensive coordinator of one of the team’s playing in the Super Bowl. If I had my pick though, I’d want the Chiefs to hire either Andy Reid or Chip Kelly (if he does leave Oregon, I would prefer he go to my favorite NFL team). Reid has been one of my favorite coaches in the NFL for sometime now and he’s getting a raw deal in Philadelphia. It’s hard for any coach to win with Michael Vick as your quarterback and once Reid gets fired in Philly, I would shit myself if the Chiefs went after him and somehow got him locked up. Put Reid with Matt Barkley and you could end up with something special in the end.

That leaves us with the other question, who will be behind center next year for KC? It would be one of the biggest surprises in the world if KC came back next year with Cassel and Quinn as the QB’s on their roster (god help us all….). Of course, KC will likely end up with the #1 overall pick in a year where there is no guaranteed franchise quarterback in the draft. Unless someone like Matt Barkley comes out and lights up the combine, I don’t see a QB worth taking with the #1 overall pick. As of right now, Mel Kiper has the Chiefs targeting someone like Manti Teo with the #1 pick and selecting someone like Barkley or Tyler Wilson in the second round. Another option for the Chiefs would be to possibly target someone who is no longer welcomed on their current team. Much like the Broncos added Peyton Manning last year, we just never know who’s going to be available in free agency when teams finally decide to cut people, but for Chiefs fan’s sake…..let’s hope someone like Alex Smith or Mark Sanchez isn’t brought in as the new “savior”. We’ve seen that song and dance before (Matt Cassel).

Save our Chiefs? Please do. This team hasn’t won a playoff game since 1994 when Joe Montana was quarterback and Marcus Allen was running back. The fans of this team are long overdue for something good……


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