Travis Hancock: Panthers Need To Hire Offensive Mind As Next Head Coach

After Hours With Amy Lawrence
December 04, 2019 - 10:48 am
Sep 22, 2019; Glendale, AZ, USA; Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera reacts against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

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Ron Rivera is out. Perry Fewell is in. 

Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper was tasked with the difficult decision to fire Rivera after nine seasons as the team fell to 5-7, tied for second place in the underwhelming NFC South. Tepper named Fewell as Rivera's successor on an interim basis, but it's very possible Carolina will do its due diligence to find Rivera's full-time replacement for 2020. 

Carolina fired Rivera with four weeks left in the season, essentially to gain an edge over other teams that will likely explore a coaching change. WFNZ host Travis Hancock discussed which route Carolina should take moving forward in its coaching search. 

"I don't think Perry Fewell is the guy," Hancock said on "After Hours with Amy Lawrence", "I think he's either going to look for one of the top tier assistant coaches like a Greg Roman in Baltimore, Brian Daboll in Buffalo is a guy's name that we've heard.

"If he goes the previous head coach route, Mike McCarthy would be a name and there is ties - I don't know if direct ties - but David Tepper from Pittsburgh, Mike McCarthy also from Pittsburgh and spent his whole youth there, worked there for a long time in terms of non-football jobs. There's a Pittsburgh connection between Mike McCarthy and David Tepper. How deep does that go? I don't know but it's certainly something to monitor here."

The Panthers possess a dynamic offense highlighted by star running back Christian McCaffrey. Hancock believes Carolina is likely to follow the trend started by the Rams and 49ers, and hire a rising coach with a heavy emphasis on the team's offense. It'll be a drastic change compared to what Panthers' fans have witnessed in the past. 

"They've been around since 1995," Hancock said. "There's no offensive coach that they've had. No one with an offensive background from Dom Capers to George Seifert to John Fox to Ron Rivera - they're all defensive coaches. They need an offensive guy, whether that's a guy currently in the league, a guy like Lincoln Riley at Oklahoma is dynamic, Joe Brady at LSU, someone that has a dynamic offensive mind is what this franchise has never had. I think offense has to be the way to go in this hire."

Hancock added he was taken aback how quickly Rivera's firing transpired.

"I was a little surprised at the timing of it because we heard previously that they were not going to make that decision until the end of the season," Hancock said. "Then Ron meets the media on Monday and he's fired on Tuesday. It's sort of not shocking that he was let go, but surprised that it happened on a Tuesday. It just felt like it was time. I've been a huge Ron Rivera supporter. He's a great person as a whole, but it felt like Andy Reid in Philadelphia, when it just became time to go."