Panthers coach Ron Rivera happy with talks on returning in 2019, feels 'pretty good'

Panthers coach Ron Rivera happy with talks on returning in 2019, feels 'pretty good'

Panthers coach Ron Rivera believes he’ll return for his ninth season in Carolina despite the Panthers’ disappointing season.

Rivera has been happy with talks with first-year owner David Tepper and is already preparing for 2019.

“I feel pretty good,” Rivera said Friday, via the team’s website. “My intention, everything I’ve been doing is working towards the future and we’ll go from there.

“My conversations with the owner have been all positive. That’s why I am just going forward.”

The Panthers will miss the playoffs for the second straight year and wrap up their season with a trip to New Orleans to face the streaking Saints, who just beat the Panthers, 12-9, in Carolina on Dec. 17.

The team has come a long way since its hot start. Carolina opened the year 6-2 but hasn’t won since Week 9 against Tampa Bay. If the Panthers lose Sunday, they will be the first team since the NFL expanded to a 16-game schedule in 1978 to go from 6-2 to 6-10, according to ESPN.

“I truly am disappointed,” Rivera said. “The hard part about it, too, losing is truly disappointing, but sometimes you feel like you let some people down. That’s probably one of the things I’ve struggled with.

“I think we’re better than our record says, but at the end of the day you are what your record says you are. That’s been the hard pill for me to swallow.”

The team has already let go two assistants, and in their absence Rivera assumed the role as the defensive play caller. 

Also disheartening is the fact seven of the Panthers’ nine losses have come by seven points or less.

“That’s been the hardest pill for me to swallow,” Rivera said. “We had some opportunities. We had some chances. Games were in our grasp, but unfortunately we didn’t do it. That’s the hard thing for me to accept.”