This column began as a weekly spotlight on the worst tendencies and decision-making habits of the Carolina Panthers coaching staff. The intention wasn’t to publish a weekly list of reasons why Ron Rivera should be fired. It was to provide constructive criticism. Not for Rivera —I have no idea if anybody inside Bank of America Stadium reads this column— but for fans who wanted to know why Panthers games were always closer than they needed to be.Sometimes DJ Moore Color Rush Jersey
, we’ve looked at situations where the staff has bucked the influence of their out-dated angels. The rest of these columns have focused on situations where the Panthers made bad choices while possessing the ball. Yesterday, Ron Rivera decided to shake up the staff that spends the least amount of time with the football. That may come across as scapegoating from the perspective of this writing, but it isn’t. The defense was also a problem this year. No amount of offensive coaching changes are going to change how Rivera makes decisions in the red zone or on critical downs with short distances to gain. The opportunity for scapegoats left long ago, now is the time for shuffling coaches on the deck of the R.M.S. Riverboat. It is what it is.There isn’t much left to say. We know that the Panthers are hampered by certain personnel deficiencies along both lines that accentuate Rivera’s most antiquated flaws. He wants to rely on his frequently struggling defense and is given the opportunity often by an offense that is magnetically attracted to coming up just short on third down. He actively prefers close games, decided by a touchdown or less, where his record is dead even through eight years. A perfect 29-29-1.With only four games left in 2018 for the Panthers, Rivera has to believe that a winning streak can save his job. Pulling that off will require a style of coaching that he clearly disdains. The Panthers have spent all season —and, really, all of Rivera’s tenure in Carolina— on the verge of success. He has built good teams and has convinced his players to buy in year after year. They, like many teams, commit a number of errors every game. Losses take on the story of an avalanche of misfortune. Wins are often about overcoming adversity and “finding a way to win.” Part of that balancing act of mistakes and missed opportunities are self-inflicted wounds. They are based in what looks like a desire to resurrect the 1985 Bears in the era of the 2018 Chiefs.That balance keeps the Panthers teetering back and forth between winning and losing seasons. A year where everything clicks into place looks like 2015. A year that sees a few more unlucky bounces looks like 2018, or 2011, or 2012 James Color Rush Bradberry Jersey
, or 2014, or 2016. If Rivera would take his good teams and push them instead of trying to protect them then he could be a successful coach in the NFL. He could tip the balance that he created. He could lead the Panthers to future seasons of relevance. To do so his team needs to make a commitment to scoring points instead of possessing the football, to defending the pass instead of rallying to the catch.Rivera’s stories could be about beating most teams with confidence instead of a last second field goal. Fans could be excited about big games instead of, at best, nervous. I don’t think any of this is likely to happen, but I would be happy if it did. The old Riverboat has been good for this franchise. I don’t enjoy writing about negatives of his time here. I don’t want to keep writing about narrow losses to teams that are not better than the Panthers. I would like to write about an eight year veteran, in danger of being left behind, acknowledging his own flaws and growing as a head coach at the highest level of football. Hello devoted readership of Cat Scratch Reader. I’m Dino. You may remember me from a prior article I wrote several years back, and Erik has welcomed me again to correspond with you regarding your upcoming loss against my New York Giants, aka the G MEN BABAAAAAYYYY!! Can you believe he’d actually have me back? I mean, it’s not like he had a choice in the matter... what with the late night phone calls and disguised voice box and what not.Anyways, he’s informed me I’m supposed to be more brief this time. You know what else was brief? The Falcons lead over those Fenway frank munchers from Boston in Super Bowl 51. Not only did I lose a boatload of money on that game, I had to listen to those Beantown Chowderheads gloat about winning another Lombardi for like the 300th time.My classic David Tyree retort is starting to get a little dated Ian Thomas Jersey
, but hey, it don’t matter none now, because Gettleman worked his Gettlemagic and got us Saquon Barkley, harbinger of all things bad for our opponents. And believe you me, Panthers fans, he’s bad for you like a loaded everything bagel from Rockford’s on 88th and Broad. Last time I had breakfast there my backside felt like it needed a dumping permit from the port authority, worst in the city!So I hear yous guys are confident heading into this game against my Giants. What, cause you had a week off after beating up on some Cincinnati Bengals or Tigers or something? Get outta here with that noise. Andy Dalton has the pocket moxie of a meter maid trying to solve a south Bronx homicide, and your boy Cam Newton hasn’t seen a pocket all season.You think I’m impressed that your team is mostly healthy again, and you signed that wiseguy Eric Reid? You’re gonna need a bigger posse than that to put the brakes on Odell Beckham jr. That Luke Kuechly? He’s pretty good... but he ain’t nothing that the thoroughbred thighs of Saquon Barkley can’t truck through. You seen those things? I mean... I ain’t gay or nothin’... not that there’s anything wrong with that... but you just gotta admire the craftsmanship that the big fella upstairs used when he was writing like, the genetic code, or whatever.Now I’ll admit... our offensive line isn’t running the strongest protection racket for Eli Manning anymore, but Julius Peppers isn’t exactly the knee-capper he once was either. What’s that? You guys got someone named Mario Addison? Mario is a guy who delivers me pizzas Curtis Samuel Color Rush Jersey
, and I don’t think he’s got the anchovies to stink up Mr. Manning’s cheese right now. Kawann Short is a threat, but it’s amazing how guys tend to quiet down once i get my pal Bruno to explain all the things you can do with a tire iron that don’t involve changing a tire.So now that I have related to you all this fluff about why your team stands no chance on Sunday, allow me to give you the recipe for another New York delicacy. One that you can converse about randomly with other oversharing southerners at your local Hairy Teeter grocery store, or your Pubix, or wherever it was Erik sent me for beer that one time with all the froo froo displays and people asking if they could help me in funny accents.Uncle Dino’s Gameday Food of the Weekeatwell101.comSausage and Peppers served however you want ‘emThis dish may seem simple enough, but it’s a New York italian classic, just like mom used to make. You can serve this up on hoagie rolls, on some spaghetti, mixed vegetables, really however you want it. Ingredients5-6 Spicy italian sausages1 bell pepper sliced, any color1 yellow onion, sliced and halved2 tablespoons minced garlic4 large ripe tomatoes, diced OR 2 cans diced tomatoes if you’re lazy1 4oz can tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes1/2 cup vegetable or chicken broth1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes1 teaspoon Italian seasoningDirectionsBrown sausage on all sides in a large skillet with a bit of oil Daeshon Hall Jersey
, remove sausages to cutting board, they do not need to be cooked through at this point.In the same pan, add a bit more oil and sautee onions, crushed red pepper flakes, and Italian seasoning. Add the garlic and tomato sauce and sautee a couple minutes more stirring often. Then add bell pepper and diced tomatoes and cook until vegetables are tender. Stir in broth and cook for another couple of minutes while season with salt and pepper to taste.Cut sausage into half inch pieces and add back to pan. Cook until sausage is done and the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes more.Yo, I hope you enjoy this recipe for a classic sausage and peppers dip, and that you may find yourself enjoying it during the game, because you sure won’t enjoy watching your Carolina Panthers get crushed on the field.