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Ron Rivera Will Not Retain Panthers Running Backs Coach Jim Skipper

Jan 31, 2011 – 7:47 PM
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Ray Glier

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The new coach always talks about a "process" when he comes on board to plug the holes in a leaky ship. Mike Smith did it in Atlanta. He talked about a process. They all say it's a process. It means there is a new sheriff in town.

When Jim Skipper, the veteran Carolina Panthers running back, heard new Carolina head coach Ron Rivera talk about a "process" in Skipper's interview, Skipper knew he wasn't going to be hired, he told The Charlotte Observer.

Sure enough, Rivera told Skipper, 62, he was going to hire somebody else to coach the Panthers' running backs.

Wonder what DeAngelo Williams thinks about the process?

Williams and Jonathan Stewart, another veteran back, lobbied hard for Rivera to keep Skipper, according to The Observer. Williams is a free agent and told the newspaper weeks ago that Skipper's job status might influence his decision whether to stay in Charlotte.

Players might say that, but when the money starts getting discussed it can be hard to remember loyalties. Williams could have some other offers, or the Panthers might decide they don't want him anyway.

Skipper told the newspaper he thinks he got a job interview just because the player's demanded it. Denver's John Fox, the former head coach in Carolina, wanted to hire Skipper, but was asked to retain the former Broncos running backs coach.

As it is, the Panthers' offices are slowly starting to fill with personnel. They still need a running backs coach, linebackers coach, defensive line coach and tight ends coach.

It shouldn't be money holding up the process. Owner Jerry Richardson bristled earlier this month at the suggestion he was cheap when he told a reporter he paid more than $11 million to his coaching staff in 2010.

Rivera is being careful with his first staff as a head coach. It makes a difference on the practice field and on game day who is in the fire with you.
Ultimately, the head coach gets blamed for the missteps of his coaches. He can only fire so many before he gets the axe himself.
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