Panthers moving very slowly on Rivera, GM

It’s sounding more and more to me like owner Jerry Richardson, not a new general manager, will be the one to decide if Ron Rivera remains as coach of the Carolina Panthers.

Joseph Person reports the much-awaited meeting between Rivera and Richardson will take place this weekend. This is just my hunch, but I don’t think Richardson is heading into that meeting with any decision already made. If he had already decided Rivera wasn’t coming back, I think the coach already would have been fired.

I think this will be a meeting where Rivera is asked what he learned from this season and what changes he has planned for staff and personnel if he stays. If Richardson likes what he hears, I think there’s a good chance Rivera, who won his final four games to finish 7-9, will stay.

According to Person, a choice on a general manager won’t come until after Richardson and Rivera meet. Interim general manager Brandon Beane is a candidate to take over the position on a permanent basis. New York Giants’ executives Marc Ross and Dave Gettelman also reportedly will interview and Person reports Tennessee Titans personnel guru Lake Dawson also could be a candidate. The Panthers also interviewed at least one candidate, who is not presently employed by another team, before the regular season ended.

Richardson is moving very slowly, but that might not be a bad thing. He clearly is agonizing over the Rivera decision. That’s understandable because Richardson likes Rivera and there have been some signs he can be a successful head coach, but the results so far haven’t been spectacular.

It’s going to be up to Rivera to use this weekend to convince Richardson he can get the Panthers to take the next step.