Ron Rivera could have said, “We were this close…”
The Seahawks going 9-7 and missing the playoffs by just one game amid an injury-plagued year didn’t give Carroll any consolation. And Rivera didn’t accept the Panthers’ return to the playoffs (where they lost 31-26 to the Saints) one year after going 6-10 in 2016 as sufficient progress.
“Are we doing enough to win a world championship, or are we doing everything we need to do to win a championship?” he asked during a recent news conference after his team having missed the playoffs for the first time in nine years and for only the third time in his 12 seasons as head coach.
We don’t get to operate that way.”
How many times have team leaders preached staying the course following bumps in the road similar to the ones Green Bay and Seattle experienced this year? How many coaches have given the “trust the process” line when their teams still don’t quite deliver?
When Rodgers, 34, broke his collarbone six games into the season, the Packers’ Super Bowl hopes essentially shattered with it. Rodgers’ eight-game absence also exposed the deficiencies that his supreme talents had helped mask.
Down in Charlotte, Rivera’s reasons for change are clear.
In Cam Newton, he has one of the most physically gifted quarterbacks in the league. But the 2015 NFL MVP remains unrefined.
Believing a better offensive coordinator and position coach will help cure inconsistencies and help Newton truly live up to his MVP caliber potential, Rivera looks to have zeroed in on hiring Norv Turner. Rivera also wants to hire Turner’s son, Scott Turner, who as quarterbacks coach in Minnesota not only aided Teddy Bridgewater, but also helped Sam Bradford in 2016 complete a dazzling 71.
6% of his passes, the second-highest single-season clip in league history.
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5% percent of his career passes, to develop as a passer and set up his skill position players for greater success.
Sharing the blame with Bevell is Cable, who also served as the run-game coordinator. But since 2011, the Seahawks have drafted a league-high 16 offensive linemen, five of whom have never started a game.
And since Marshawn Lynch’s departure after the 2015 season, Seattle’s rushing attack has finished 25th and 23rd in the NFL.
Throughout this season, the sense in Seattle was that the foundation had started to crack.
A team that once looked like a rising dynasty with back-to-back trips to the Super Bowl in 2013 (a win) and ’14 (crushing defeat) seemingly was trending in the wrong direction.
“We are challenged by change, but excited to attack the future with great purpose,” he wrote in a statement when Seattle announced the Bevell and Cable firings.
Elite aspirations consist of much more.
Follow Mike Jones on Twitter @ByMikeJones.
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