Ron Rivera declines to discuss reports about his future

If body language speaks volumes, Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera let his posture do all the talking for him following Sunday's 24-17 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Panthers dropped a fourth consecutive game to move to 6-6 on the season, and the head coach addressed reporters after the game for a little more than five minutes with his arms crossed virtually the entire time.

Rivera addressed injuries, defensive play-calling and the team's turnovers before being asked about an earlier CBS Sports report, which indicated team owner David Tepper's increasing frustration level over the team's performance and consideration of change.

The mood of the press conference quickly changed.

"Now, at the end of the day, unless Mr. Tepper says it, I'm not going to address it, OK?" Rivera responded, via the Panthers' official website. "So, we can forget about asking me those questions, please."

Pressed later if he was worried about job security, Rivera became agitated with the line of questioning, waving his left hand across his body and nodding his head.

"I am not going to answer that question," Rivera said emphatically. "Do not ask that question again, please."

Regardless of Rivera's stance, the questions are sure to come given the Panthers' self-destructive ways with penalties and turnovers over the past four games.

Carolina is also 1-5 on the road this season and 4-5 against NFC opponents, including 1-2 within the NFC South with three of the final four games remaining against divisional opponents.

Still, veteran center Ryan Kalil pointed out the team's issues don't fall on the coaching staff. Instead, the accountability needs to start with the players in the locker room.

"I think we have a lot of talent on this team, and honestly, I look at last year and I look at this year and I think we're a more talented bunch this year, but I think we were more disciplined last year," Kalil said, via the Charlotte Observer. "I just don't think we're a very disciplined football team, especially in critical situations.

"And that's what it comes down to, in all three phases. ... There's nothing you can do about that, from a coaching standpoint. I'm very, very happy with how Ron goes about (his job) week to week, and that's what makes this tough."

In the meantime, the Panthers close out the season with games against the Browns in Week 14, the Saints in Week 15, the Falcons in Week 16 and the Saints again in Week 17.

While grumblings are sure to grow if the team doesn't finish strong, Rivera hopes any outside distractions or speculation surrounding a coaching staff shake-up won't make its way into the locker room.

"I hope not," Rivera said. "But again, as far as I'm concerned, unless Mr. Tepper puts his name on it, I think that everybody just needs to calm down and let what's really being said, let the truth come out. Again, if anybody has a question, I think they should ask Mr. Tepper. But I don't think that's fair to sit there say and 'sources say.'"

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