CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera sounded more irritated than normal the Monday after a loss.
He sounded almost angry as he discussed all that went wrong in Sunday's 24-23 setback at Buffalo.
So I asked a few players if Rivera appeared more upset than normal to them as he delivered his state-of-the-team address. None was more telling than center Ryan Kalil.
"It's not fun to lose," he said.
So are you saying Rivera was more angry than normal?
"I'm pissed off," Kalil said. "It's not fun to lose."
Tight end Greg Olsen concurred on all points.
"I don't blame him," he said of being Rivera being upset. "I feel for coach. There's nothing he can do."
Rivera insisted his future as the head coach won't be a factor as the Panthers move forward, although a loss this weekend to the 0-2 New York Giants may change that. He insisted the team is close, in fact "very close," to being good.
He said it's time for playmakers to make plays, throwing the onus on the players instead of himself and the coaching staff that gets most of the blame.
What makes this tough on Rivera, beyond his future, is he and his coaches believe they have the talent to win. Offensive coordinator Mike Shula couldn't say enough good things about how well everyone on his side works together.
"It hasn't been good," he said. "It's been great."
The Panthers will need more than just great attitudes and worth ethics to get past the losing that has become almost epidemic. If they don't, then coaches will be fired and players will be re-evaluated.
"It's obviously really frustrating with as hard as we've worked and how much effort we've put into it," Olsen said. "It seems right now we're kind of stuck in the mud there."
And when you're stuck in the mud, you get irritated and angry.