2013 DRAFT GUIDE
Rivera: Panthers need to 'get over the hump'

By STEVE REED - AP Sports Writer
    2013-09-16 18:02

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Coach Ron Rivera said the Panthers have to find a way to close out games if they're ever going to take the next step as a football team.

So far that hasn't happened.

The Panthers (0-2) surrendered a fourth quarter lead for the second straight week, losing in heartbreaking fashion when Stevie Johnson caught a 2-yard touchdown pass from EJ Manuel with 2 seconds left to lift the Buffalo Bills to a 24-23 win Sunday.

``It's time to get over the hump,'' Rivera said Monday. ``We've been through this - and that is the thing that is disheartening. You'd like to believe that we've gotten to the point where we've learned from these things and now it's about getting things done.''

Since Rivera took over as head coach in 2011, the Panthers have lost 10 games they've held a lead in the fourth quarter - which is tied with the Philadelphia Eagles for the most in the league, according to STATS INC.

The loss brings up more questions about Rivera's job security.

The third-year coach said he hasn't spoken with owner Jerry Richardson since the latest loss dropped his career record to 2-14 in games decided by 7 points or less.

Rivera said he's not worried about his job - even as a growing number of fans are calling for Richardson to replace him.

The coach appeared frustrated at times during his press conference Monday as the normally upbeat coach lamented the latest one that got away.

``I don't blame him,'' center Ryan Kalil said. ``I'm (upset) too.''

Panthers tight end Greg Olsen said that sense of deja vu is extremely frustrating, particularly with how hard the team is working.

``It seems like right now we're just stuck in the mud,'' Olsen said. ``And you have to change it. You can't sit back and say you need more breaks to go your way. In this league you need to make your own breaks. The good teams make luck and the bad teams make bad fortune.''

The Panthers have played well enough against Seattle and Buffalo to win, but haven't made the plays when they needed them.

On Sunday the Panthers had chances to score touchdowns in the fourth quarter - two of those after Manuel turnovers - but settled for three field goals.

The last one gave Carolina a 23-17 lead with 1:38 left.

All Carolina's defense only had to do was stop Manuel from going 80 yards with no timeouts and scoring a touchdown.

They couldn't do it.

``We have to find a way to make a play on the last drives,'' Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott said.

The task won't get any easier moving forward - the Panthers announced Monday lost starting free safety Charles Godfrey to a season-ending Achilles injury.

Olsen said the Panthers can't allow a defeatist attitude to get inside their heads in the fourth quarter.

``All of the focus can't be on, `Man we just need to hang on,''' Olsen said.

But how do you fix it?

Rivera said getting a comfortable lead and having a killer instinct would certainly be a start.

``It would be nice to be in position where you close games out and don't a have to worry about last drive or the last play,'' Rivera said. ``We talked to the guys about how if you have somebody down you have to keep them down.''

Panthers offensive coordinator Mike Shula said the experience has been ``testing'' on the nerves.

``In my opinion we don't deserve to be 0-2,'' Shula said.

But they are.

Still, Shula isn't worried about the Panthers going in the tank and starting 2-8 like it has the last two seasons.

``Maybe in years past, but for whatever reason this year with this group I don't worry about it,'' Shula said. ``I know it doesn't make sense right now being 0-2, but veteran guys have taken ownership of this thing'' and will get it corrected.

Like the Panthers, the Giants are 0-2, which makes this a big game for both teams.

Olsen said the Panthers don't feel desperate for a win, but there is a clear sense of urgency to get to 1-2 before the bye week.

``I don't think we're in panic mode,'' Olsen said. ``We know what we're capable of. But the results need to change and it's up to us to change the outcome.''

---

Online: AP NFL website www.pro32.ap.org

---

Follow Steve Reed on Twitter: http://twitter.com/SteveReedAP

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

LaMichael JamesApr 17 10:04a

According to a league source, the San Francisco 49ers have been shopping RB LaMichael James. He finds himself behind RBs Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter and perhaps Marcus Lattimore on [ More ]

Mike BrownApr 16 11:33p

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Mike Brown signed his exclusive-rights free agent deal Wednesday, April 16.

Eli ManningApr 16 11:33p

Former New York Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride said in a radio interview this week that it is 'ludicrous' to say QB Eli Manning is declining. 'There's been no [ More ]

Sidney RiceApr 16 08:03p

The Seattle Seahawks are re-signing WR Sidney Rice to an undisclosed one-year deal Wednesday, April 16, according to sources.

Dwayne BoweApr 16 07:03p

Kansas City Chiefs WR Dwayne Bowe pleaded guilty Wednesday, April 16, after being arrested last November for marijuana possession. He pleaded guilty to lesser charges of littering and defective [ More ]

Arian FosterApr 16 04:53p

The Houston Texans may consider selecting a running back during the middle rounds of the 2014 NFL Draft that could become RB Arian Foster's backup in the future.

Chris JohnsonApr 16 04:43p

The New York Jets signed RB Chris Johnson to a two-year deal worth $8 million, with another $1 million in incentives available.

Terrelle PryorApr 16 04:33p

The Oakland Raiders hope to trade QB Terrelle Pryor before the start of the offseason program Monday, April 21.

Clay MatthewsApr 16 04:13p

Green Bay Packers LB Clay Matthews (thumb) said he likely will be limited during offseason workouts because of his surgically repaired thumb.

Chris JohnsonApr 16 03:53p

The New York Jets will use RBs Chris Johnson and Chris Ivory as a tandem this upcoming season and have them split carries. RB Bilal Powell will be the team's No. 3 running back.

Dan SkutaApr 16 03:33p

San Francisco 49ers LB Dan Skuta (foot) is not expected to need surgery on the foot injury that bothered him during the 2013 season. Skuta met with a foot [ More ]

Gus BradleyApr 16 02:53p

Jacksonville Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell and head coach Gus Bradley watched Georgia QB Aaron Murray participate in his pro day Wednesday, April 16.

Reggie BushApr 16 02:13p

Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi said RBs Reggie Bush and Joique Bell likely will receive similar workloads this upcoming season than they did during the 2013 season. Bush [ More ]

Cheta OzougwuApr 16 01:53p

The Chicago Bears have waived DE Cheta Ozougwu.

Mike JamesApr 16 12:53p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Mike James (ankle) said he is happy with the progress he has made in his recovery from an ankle injury and that he has been [ More ]

Carson PalmerApr 16 12:43p

Arizona Cardinals QB Carson Palmer said he would understand if the team selects a quarterback during the 2014 NFL Draft, because he knows the team has to think about [ More ]

Josh FreemanApr 16 12:23p

The New York Giants have agreed to terms with free-agent QB Josh Freeman (Vikings). Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Rolando McClainApr 16 12:13p

Updating previous reports, retired LB Rolando McClain failed his conditioning tests during his workout with the Baltimore Ravens. The test consisted of six timed 150-yard runs.

Golden TateApr 16 10:53a

Detroit Lions WR Golden Tate said he thinks he can be a 'more explosive Lance Moore,' referring to the former New Orleans Saints receiver. Moore caught 65 passes for [ More ]

Matt FlynnApr 16 10:01a

Green Bay Packers QB Matt Flynn is expected to compete with QB Scott Tolzien for the backup quarterback job, but head coach Mike McCarthy anticipates keeping three QBs on [ More ]

Rolando McClainApr 16 12:03a

Retired LB Rolando McClain (Ravens) worked out for the Baltimore Ravens Tuesday, April 15, as he attempts a comeback. The workout wasn't a smooth one in terms of conditioning, [ More ]

Chris JohnsonApr 16 12:03a

The New York Jets are sticking to their budget/value system. While they want free-agent RB Chris Johnson (Titans), they will not 'overpay' for him. The depressed running back market [ More ]

Aldon SmithApr 16 12:03a

San Francisco 49ers LB Aldon Smith hasn't only lost the benefit of the doubt with the team, but he probably won't play with the team in 2014, according to [ More ]

Malcom FloydApr 15 11:53p

San Diego Chargers WR Malcom Floyd (neck) continues his rehab from a neck injury, but his status is still uncertain. When the team begins voluntary workouts April 22, Floyd [ More ]

Chris JohnsonApr 15 07:53p

Free-agent RB Chris Johnson's (Titans) visit with the New York Jets reportedly went well Tuesday, April 15, but he left without a deal. Other teams are involved with him, too.

Rolando McClainApr 15 07:53p

The Baltimore Ravens worked out LB Rolando McClain, and it reportedly wasn't a success. McClain didn't finish his conditioning test and didn't perform drills.

Terrell ManningApr 15 05:43p

The Minnesota Vikings claimed LB Terrell Manning off waivers from the San Diego Chargers Tuesday, April 15.

Adam PodleshApr 15 05:13p

The Pittsburgh Steelers signed free-agent P Adam Podlesh (Bears) to an undisclosed one-year deal Tuesday, April 15.

Allen ReisnerApr 15 03:53p

The Minnesota Vikings announced Tuesday, April 15, that they've signed free-agent TE Allen Reisner (Jaguars) to an undisclosed deal.

Daniel KilgoreApr 15 03:23p

San Francisco 49ers OG Daniel Kilgore was found not guilty of public intoxication related to his arrest in January in Tennessee. His case was dismissed following his appearance in [ More ]

Matt FlynnApr 15 02:23p

The Green Bay Packers agreed to terms on an undisclosed deal to re-sign QB Matt Flynn Tuesday, April 15, according to a source.

Dion JordanApr 15 01:53p

Miami Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey is expecting big things from DE Dion Jordan in his second season this year. He's a very talented player and this is a [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group