Game #10 has Ron Rivera facing some Déjà Vu

Head Coach Ron Rivera; — Washington Football Team (All-Pro Reels Photography)

Work trip, business trip, head trip. Head coach Ron Rivera is back in North Carolina, and it is Déjà Vu all over again. Not only does Rivera play his ex-team today, his old quarterback, Cam Newton, will start for Carolina due to Sam Darnold’s injury.

Rivera started his head coaching career for Carolina in 2011 and had his run sacked during the 2019 season. In coaching years, that is a long time. Rivera paid his dues with 14 years in various defensive coaching jobs with three different teams before the Panthers hired him as their head coach. They fired him mid-way through that 2019 season. That stung. He was kicked to the curb like an empty soda can. This was the same coach who took Carolina to their first Super Bowl in 2015 with a regular season record of 15-1.

The Washington Football Team (3-6) comes into Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte looking for direction after a stunning upset victory against the defending Super Bowl-champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week. The WFT decidedly stomped on Tom Brady’s Bucs by a final score of 29-19. So the question lies, can they do it again this week?

“Well, I know as far as playing against them, it won’t be the same effect. But it’ll be back in Charlotte, that’ll be probably the bigger thing more so than anything else for me. Just because, again, as I said, the thing that I really appreciated about my time there were the people. That’s probably the bigger thing. Now, what I’m doing is I’m limiting my exposure to that. Stephanie will do all the visiting and saying hello to folks.

Me, I’m pretty much going to try and stick to the mantra that this is a business trip.”

“No, there’s no reason to be bitter. I did the best I could. When it was time to move on, [Carolina Panthers Owner] David Tepper treated me with tremendous dignity and respect. He really did. He gave me an opportunity to say goodbye, and I really appreciated it. What’s really kind of cool, kind of speaks to who he is. When we played him in [Washington], he did a Rivera Strong as well.

I got a tremendous amount of respect for what [Tepper] is doing there right now, what they’re trying to do in terms of their rebuild as well. There is no bitterness. If there is anything, it’s just miss the folks and the friends we had in Charlotte.”

Head Coach Ron Rivera

This will also be Taylor Heinicke‘s first start as a visitor in Carolina which is one of his former teams. While he only played six games there, he had nearly 1 1/3 years with the organization until they cut him prior to the start of the 2019 season. This might feel a little personal for Heinicke.

“Yeah, it’ll be fun. Me and [Cam Newton] had a great relationship. He was a lot of fun to be around. That place is going to be rocking on Sunday. Like I said before, he’s like the God of Charlotte. Everyone loves him up there. So, it will be his first home game there. It’s going to be loud and it’ll be an exciting game. He’s very animated and likes to have fun out there. So yeah, it’ll be cool.”

QB Taylor Heinicke about facing Cam Newton

Washington lost Chase Young for the season, and WR Curtis Samuel (groin) is questionable out with TE Ricky Seals-Jones (hip) ruled out for this game. TE Logan Thomas was supposed to be activated off of the IR and was not as of yesterday.

Date/Time: Sunday, Nov. 21st | 1:00 p.m. ET

Location: Bank of America Stadium | Charlotte, NC


Kevin Kugler (play-by-play), Mark Sanchez (analyst), Laura Okmin (sideline)


Money line: Washington +145 (bet $100 to win $145) | Panthers -180 (bet $180 to win $100)
Against the spread (ATS): Washington +3.5 (-117) | Panthers -3.5 (-103)
Over/Under (O/U): 42.5 (O: -117 | U: -103)

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