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Panthers not expected to make change at head coach

Rumors of Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera‘s demise have been greatly exaggerated. So says former Panthers wide receiver and franchise great Steve Smith.

Last Sunday morning, the Panthers’ world was unsettled when CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora published a report suggesting that Panthers first-year owner David Tepper was unhappy with the team’s losing streak and mulling significant changes if things did not improve – As they did not in Week 13. However, Smith stated on Sunday’s edition of NFL Network’s Good Morning Football that it is not likely that such fancies of Tepper blowing up the coaching staff will come to fruition.

“Don’t expect anything from the head coaching, because with the new owner he’s had a minority share with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He understands getting rid of a coach and having to upset and change (the entire coaching staff is) not very good,” said Smith. “I would not see anything this year.”

In addition to Smith’s report on the Panthers’ organization, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport also gave a major update on the team in the form of a report on quarterback Cam Newton and his shoulder. According to Rapoport, Newton’s shoulder is not as much of a red flag as it seemed at the end of Week 13, and he is not expected to undergo surgery on his shoulder in the offseason.

Earlier this week, Smith had given his take on the two major stories coming out of Week 13 for the Panthers, giving his opinion on both Rivera’s job and Newton’s shoulder. As far as a head coaching change was concerned, Smith stated on WFNZ’s Garcia & Bailey that Panthers fans need to be careful what they wish for.

Making a immediate change when you’re not sure what’s out there – who you gonna go get? Who’s better out there? Do you want to really start over with some of these key pieces?“, said Smith. “Everybody learns, and people have to be patient. The old adage: Rome wasn’t built in a day, it was built brick-by-brick. A home is built brick-by-brick. And that’s why it takes a certain period of time to build a quality home. And that’s what the Carolina Panthers are trying to do.”

As for Newton’s shoulder, Smith was very critical of certain segments of the fanbase suggesting that the Panthers simply shut Newton down for the season and tank for a draft pick, while stating that Newton’s issues were little more than the wear-and-tear associated with a long season.

“Sometimes you just get sore. That’s what happens,” said Smith. “Cam can throw the ball pretty deep. He did it a long time for a long period of time. That has a wear-and-tear. And some days and some years, the wear-and-tear of football – baseball, basketball, or joggers or marathoners – your jogger’s knee is gonna flare up a little bit more this year than it did last year. And that’s part of the wear-and-tear of the game and this Gladiator sport that we play.”

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