How the Panthers Can Return to the Super Bowl

I will admit, I have publicly advocated for Ron Rivera to be fired. Up until a couple days ago, I felt like he shouldn't keep his job after the disaster of this year. They have looked flat, he handed Seattle points to start a game because of a tie, and he looks emotionless on the sideline. That, coupled with some terrible in-game decisions, led my to hold the stance I previously did. However, 15-1 wasn't an anomaly and he deserves the opportunity to try again. This team needs to make a few changes to get back to the Super Bowl.

Fire Mike Shula

I like Shula as a person and think he will land on his feet just fine. As the offensive coordinator of the Carolina Panthers, he just isn't cutting it. As of right now, it would appear that Norv Turner would be the odds-on favorite. I hope that the Panthers set up an arrangement that Ricky Proehl would get the job when Turner eventually moves on. Turner runs an offense that needs big wide receivers, pass-catching tight ends, and physical running backs. Sound like any team you've heard of? If he could factor in Cam's running ability, his scheme and the Panthers' personnel fit hand-in-hand.

Sign Eric Berry

Luke Kuechly being healthy will do wonders for this defense, but they need some help in the secondary. James Bradberry and Daryl Worley will be a year older, and Kurt Coleman will be in the second year of his new deal. They could still use a ball-hawking free safety to fly around in the defensive backfield. Perfectly complementing his on-field style, he is the living embodiment of the Keep Pounding mantra. Having overcome cancer, he appreciates that he can continue to play football. Putting him in the defensive backs room would bring back the presence the Panthers lost when Roman Harper left and Charles Tillman retired.

Oh, remember the performance he gave in Atlanta last week? He would get that opportunity every year. That's a solid selling point.

Draft Mike Williams

The Panthers desperately need a wide receiver who can get yards after the catch. At 6'2", 225lbs, he is big enough to be a red zone threat and can also stretch the field. In the game vs South Carolina, he beat man-coverage on a deep pass, and score on a slant pass against zone coverage. He's the mind of receiver who could step in and be the #1 guy here.

By Jonathan Cook
Follow him on Twitter @JCookSports