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November 12, 2012

Rivera fires special teams coach

Panthers coach Ron Rivera fired special teams coordinator Brian Murphy on Monday, a day after the Panthers allowed a 76-yard punt return for a touchdown to Trindon Holliday in a 36-14 loss to Denver.

Citing philosophical differences, Rivera said the decision was his alone, although he had the support of owner Jerry Richardson.

Rivera has replaced Murphy with assistant special teams coach Richard Rodgers, Rivera's teammate at Cal.

The biggest thing, more so than anything else, I look to see us improve in some of our production numbers. I informed coach Murphy at 7 a.m., met with the coaches at 8 a.m. and met with coach Rodgers afterwards,” Rivera said. “I told coach Rodgers what I wanted. I wanted things simplified. I wanted to come back to fundamental basics and that’s the direction we’re going to head right now.”

Murphy came under fire last season when the Panthers had one of worst special teams units in the league. Rivera brought in Rodgers to assist Murphy, but said he never considered firing Murphy in the offseason.

Instead, the Panthers released punter Jason Baker and signed several free agents to try to boost the coverage teams. Justin Medlock beat out veteran place-kicker Olindo Mare during the preseason.

The Panthers rank first in kickoff return yardage allowed, but only 24th in opponents' starting field position -- a product of the short kicks they employed against Chicago's Devin Hester two weeks ago.

Holliday's return apparently was the breaking point. Holliday, then with Houston, returned a kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown against the Panthers in the preseason.

But Murphy elected to kick to Holliday rather than kick away from him, the strategy the Panthers employed against Hester.

The Panthers drafted punt returner Joe Adams in the fourth round to be the primary returner. But Adams has been inactive every game since fumbling twice in a loss to the Giants in Week 3.

Rivera said Adams would get another chance when he shows more consistency.

I’ve talked to Joe already about getting him back on the football field. I told him I’ve been watching him the last few weeks in practice and I want to see consistency every day,” Rivera said.

What I don’t want to see is two days of catching the ball and the third day of dropping it. I said until I feel that you’ve gotten to that point, you’ll get your opportunity. But I said you will get your opportunity. So you can expect him on the field.”

--Joseph Person

Posted by Observer Sports on November 12, 2012 at 01:09 PM | Permalink


hope Murphy doesn't use up all the empty boxes around the office. I think Ron Rivera will be needing some of his own soon enough.

Also, just a thought, but if we fire Rivera at the end of the season, shouldn't Andy Reid be available about the same day?

Posted by: jason wilmington | Nov 12, 2012 2:05:26 PM

Guess you cannot fire Cam for the pick 6 or Cam & OLine for the safety. That is 16 points with the Holliday return. D played as well as can be expected against the real Superman...Peyton Manning. On to Tampa Bay, better fgure out how to advance the ball on them and stop their returners. As much as I would have liked to spend our #1 & #2 picks in the 2013 Draft on a DT and a CB or S, looks like we need to spend them on a OT and a G.

Posted by: Fan | Nov 12, 2012 2:12:16 PM

no way rivera is back next year. no effing way.

since it isn't possible to get fox back....how about jack del rio? if not, we need the mike dunlap hire of the nfl. bobcats look like they are on the right track with their rebuilding. then again, panthers did last year to a certain extent.

as for O-line, they've been pretty respectable most of the year given that khalil has been out, and starting a rookie and a 2nd year player + replacing khalil with byers. I'm not sure we need to draft O-line early as much as it might be thought. a stud RT would be a no brainer 1st round. even a stud LT and move gross over wouldn't be a bad move.

we would be best off trading that 1st round pick to denver for their coach. you know....that guy. if you don't think he wouldn't have had this team 6-3 or 5-4......you haven't watched all the games.

Posted by: charlottean | Nov 12, 2012 3:00:14 PM

What took so long? He was horrible!

Posted by: joe cool | Nov 12, 2012 3:09:24 PM

There were at least two illegal blocks in the back on that return for a TD, but yeah, ST have been awful the last two years. I'll join you guys clamoring for Fox to return if he can bring his HOF QB with him. Think our owner will sign off on that one?

Posted by: swiznami | Nov 12, 2012 3:28:26 PM

CAROLINA FANS: Face it, the Panthers need to start from scratch in the rebuilding mode.Get a new coach that knows how to win, even if he coming from college.

Riveria doesnt know how to win or the feeling of winning as a head coach. Carolina has a losing mentality that has to be fixed or this team has no idenity.

Posted by: KENJ | Nov 12, 2012 3:41:49 PM

Well if we first the Special Team coach for a return, fire the O-Line Coach for them playing like swiss cheese most of the year, the QB coach for not working with Cam on his mechanics, the OC for trying to run an offense that goes almost completely against our personnel, and finally fire Rivera, because as he said when Marty was fired, the buck stops with him.

This season cannot be saved, and I know we can't really work on getting a new coach until the end of the season, but a monkey could run the sideline right now and we would get similar results, and I am a huge Panther fan, pulled for them and was at every home game during 1-15, stuck with them through 2-14 but even in 2010 the players gave up on themselves, and not on the coach. I have never heard the players off handed take shots at the coaching staff as I have this year.

I don't think there is any shortage of real talent on the team, I just think the coaching staff isn't coaching to their strengths, they are coaching to what they want them to be. All I will wrap with is I couldn't be more proud of what our DC is doing with our D, but OC, ST and HC have completely forgotten about the talent they have. Stop trying to put a square peg in a round hole, coach to our strengths!

Posted by: DJSlash | Nov 12, 2012 3:54:33 PM

Man what a disaster....Except FIRE THE O COORDINATOR! Chud has turned into a terrible play caller.

Man i tell you what, i'm glad i chose bobcats season tickets over panthers. More games, cheap, fun atmosphere, and ACTUALLY COMPETITIVE THIS YEAR/ FUN TO WATCH THEM PLAY WITH HEART

Never thought i'd say this, but give it two years and the bobcats will have more success and popularity than the panthers.

Posted by: Charlottecatsfan | Nov 12, 2012 4:14:46 PM

we have players and horrible coaching. philly has coaching and horrible players. our players are getting blamed. philly's coach is getting blamed.

we could do A LOT worse than bring in andy reid once he's fired. just make sure he's bringing a better D coordinator. mcdermott hasn't been horrible this year but I think that speaks way more to the play of johnson and hardy. they have been serious.

richardson is one of the better owners in the league regardless of how much you want to question his moves. he's still better than a lot of guys. he's no jerry jones or mike brown type. he's not doing publicity stunts like the jets owner. but he seriously should have given life contracts to fox and hurney. fanbase is too needy. we play in a tough division. 8-8 IS a successful year. richardson should have known that.

they were never horrible with talent like this team this year. they were mediocre at worst and that was usually with the same or worse amount of injuries as this year at critical positions. given that davis and beason have basically just traded places, and that norman and thomas have been pleasant surprises.....khalil was the only BIG loss this year.

we've had far worse. 2004, 2007, etc. fox understood football on a far more intelligent level than rivera who is clearly nothing more than a concussion study in waiting. 3rd and long the draw IS a successful play. as much as cam has made some horrible decisions, they keep putting him in positions to fail. fox would never do that.

the guy won with tebow......won some with peete....won some with testaverde....imagine what he would have done with cam. and we would have had jack del rio as D coordinator to boot.

jack del rio, andy reid, they have to be at the top of the list.

Posted by: charlottean | Nov 12, 2012 5:31:34 PM

I say fire the whole coaching staff. Blow up the roster. These players don't show no heart nor passion when they play. It is just painful to watch this team. I have been a panthers fan ever since this team was form. I am tired of this team losing.

Posted by: Michael | Nov 13, 2012 4:42:29 PM

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