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Ron Rivera's seat hot as Panthers talking coach search

Even before this season began, Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera knew he was on the hot seat.

In July, Rivera called his less-than-concrete job security the "white elephant in the room." Here in October, that elephant lingers.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Sunday on "NFL GameDay Morning" -- before the Panthers' 22-6 loss to the Cardinals -- that the team is laying the foundation for a possible coaching search after the season, according to sources close to the situation. Carolina has begun background checks to such a degree that one candidate already knows of the team's interest, Rapoport was told.

NFL Media columnist Michael Silver reported Sunday that multiple Panthers players insist Rivera remains popular in the locker room, with one saying: "The guy who can save Rivera's job is Cam Newton. If he plays like he did last game, we've got a shot."

Carolina has a talented young quarterback and one of the league's better front sevens. Saddled with a 1-3 record, it's on Rivera to flip the switch and change perceptions. It's crystal clear he'll be out of work if this season doesn't end on a bright note.

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