Panthers head coach Ron Rivera is expected to return to Carolina for his ninth season in 2019, according to the NFL Newtork's Ian Rapoport.
"As for the Panthers, new owner David Tepper is expected to be patient," Rapoport wrote on Sunday. "The team already made a significant change, with Rivera taking over play-calling on defense... The roster should get younger and faster next year, as well, and with Rivera in charge of the defense it should only improve."
Carolina has struggled in 2019, second in the NFC South at 6–8 heading into Week 16. Starting quarterback Cam Newton has battled a shoulder injury for much of December, and won't play in Carolina's final two games. A pair of losses to end the season would give the Panthers their second 6–10 season since 2016.
Rivera is 70–55 in Carolina since taking the job in 2011. The Panthers have reached the playoffs four times in Rivera's eight seasons, losing to the Broncos in Super Bowl 50.
The Panthers host the Falcons on Sunday. Kickoff from Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C. is slated for 1 p.m. ET.