It sounds like we will probably have news tonight on a team choosing its new head coach -- Chip Kelly to Cleveland? -- so in the meantime, here is some news about something that is fairly rare in the current NFL: A non-playoff team standing pat with its current head coach. Ron Rivera will return to lead the Panthers for a third season, according to team spokesman Charlie Dayton. Rivera was told as much during a Saturday meeting with owner Jerry Richardson. The Panthers went 7-9 this season but won five of their final six games. Rivera has a 13-19 record in two years as the head coach in Carolina.
The Panthers finished the year tied for second place in the NFC South. Or tied for last, depending on which way you want to look at it. Rivera's return most likely means offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski will be staying as well, and that's good for an offense that averaged 28.8 points in those final six games. The familiarity should help Cam Newton build upon a extremely strong second half.