I don't think Ron Rivera, by any stretch of the imagination, is on the hot seat. I'm not even sure that if he doesn't get this team to the playoffs again in the next couple of seasons, that he'll be on the hot seat. That being said, I think this current team is loaded with talent.
None of us can predict how the Carson Wentz trade will turn out. But Ron Rivera won far more than he lost with Cam Newton under center, and he and Scott Turner almost accomplished that with Taylor Heinicke under center. I have to believe given his native ability that they'll be able to get the best out of Carson Wentz. Even if I'm proven dead wrong on that, we know we can be competitive with Heinicke if we have to go that route, and Sam Howell is a promising youngster.
Our ST are in great shape. I think Joey Slye is a very good kicker. Tress Way is the best punter in the NFL. And our coverage units have been better the past few years than in recent memory. We lost a solid returner in Carter but I am confident Jahan Dotson will be able to fill that void.
We've added major weapons on offense. In addition to Wentz, we resigned McKissic, added Dotson, Brian Robinson, and Cole Turner - and got a steal in Sam Howell (who barring disaster won't be a factor in 2022). Assuming Logan Thomas is back, we are loaded for bear on offense. I expect the OL to continue to overperform, especially with the additions of Norwell and Trae Turner.
Defense? Who knows. One would hope there won't be a repeat of last seasons mysteriously inept start. Hopefully, Del Rio will have Chase Young and Montez Sweat's minds right this go round. Mathis and Percy Butler will likely be immediate contributors who boost our D. And maybe Jamin Davis takes a huge step in 2022, or Cole Holcomb proves everyone wrong and turns out to be the answer at MLB. We have to be hoping that a) St-Juste can go a season without a concussion, and that William Jackson looks more like the guy we brought in last offseason.
The 2 biggest question marks on this 2022 squad are clearly Carson Wentz, and how this defense performs.
One thing I know. This team cannot afford to have another sluggish, slow start. They have to come out swinging from opening day on. It appears we may have a reprieve in 2022 from brutal scheduling. But our NFC East foes have also added weapons and improved. I don't see the Giants as being serious contenders, but Dallas is obviously our #1 challenger with Philly not far behind.
All of the above being said, I think this 2022 squad simply has too much talent, and too good of a coaching staff not to win 10 or 11 games. I think 2022 is a breakout year in the Ron Rivera era and this team finally looks and plays like a legit playoff team, not one who finds a way in with smoke, mirrors, and good fortune.