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Ron Rivera, Jerry Richardson meeting on Saturday

Ron Rivera

Carolina Panthers’ head coach Ron Rivera describes how his team improved over the season at a brief news conference following the final team meeting of the season in Charlotte, N.C., Monday, Dec. 31, 2012. If Rivera does not return as Carolina’s coach after a second straight losing season, he can at least take pride in the fact this his players never quit on him, even rallying from 11-points down, on the road, in a low-stakes season finale, to beat the Saints 44-38 on Sunday. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)


The Panthers are putting together a list of general manager candidates, which now reportedly includes Titans vice president of player personnel Lake Dawson, but their head coach still hasn’t met with the team’s owner to talk about the 2012 season.

According to Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer, that meeting will take place on Saturday. Ron Rivera and owner Jerry Richardson are expected to sit down to discuss Rivera’s future with the team. Rivera’s status has been in question ever since the Panthers fired General Manager Marty Hurney, but his team did finish the year with five wins in the final six games and four straight at the end of the year to wind up with a better record than he had in 2011.

How much playing out the string at that pace will impact Richardson’s decision remains to be seen, but it does suggest that Rivera was still able to find a way to elicit a strong effort from his players. An even bigger question is whether Richardson would make keeping Rivera as the coach for at least one more year would become a precondition for any G.M. candidates if the owner does decide to keep Rivera around.

We should know more after the weekend about who will be on the sideline for the Panthers in 2013.