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Rivera learning as he goes

Posted Dec 17, 2012

CHARLOTTE – Panthers head coach Ron Rivera doesn't know what his future holds when this season comes to an end.

That discussion with Panthers Owner/Founder Jerry Richardson will take place in two weeks.

"When it is all said and done, we'll talk about it as we go forward," Rivera said.

Rivera reiterated his appreciation for the open dialogue he's had Richardson, who is searching for the team's next general manager.

"It's progressing as Mr. Richardson would like," Rivera said when asked about the search.

But according to Rivera, it will be Richardson – not the general manager – who will ultimately make the final call on the future of the coaching staff.

"I believe Mr. Richardson will decide our fate, as far as that's concerned," Rivera said.

The uncertainty surrounding Rivera hasn't affected his team's performance.

With Sunday's 31-7 victory over the Chargers and a 30-20 win against the Falcons the week before, the Panthers have won back-to-back games for the first time this season.

"There is just a confidence that has been instilled by the way we've played recently," Rivera said. "As long as the guys believe in what you're doing and believe in what they can become, I think they are going to continue to do this."

Rivera has often talked about his young team's growth through adversity and the confidence that has come with more experience.

As a head coach, he is going through a similar developmental process.

"I'm 16 months removed from meeting my team for the first time," Rivera said. "There are a lot of things that I've learned in that period of time."

First and foremost would be management skills.

"The biggest thing is management," Rivera said. "I'll put myself up against anybody with Xs and Os. I'm very confident about that. But I have had to learn a lot.

"You're managing 61 (players) and 17 coaches, and it's a little bit different (than being a coordinator). You're also managing the time as far as practices and schedules."

As a first-time head coach, Rivera experienced some trial and error as he determined how best to delegate responsibilities amongst his staff.

"Maybe delegating too much," Rivera said. "Maybe not enough."

That's all part of the maturation process, learning from successes and failures.

"We know a little more about who we are," Rivera said.

And with that knowledge, Rivera firmly believes he's improved as a head coach.

"Without a doubt in my mind."