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May 10, 2011

Rivera: Newton has what it takes to lead

The NFL Network caught up with Panthers first-year coach Ron Rivera recently. (The league-owned channel keeps a camera in the broadcast area at Bank of America Stadium.)

Rivera did not reveal anything newsy during the 5-minute video. As he has been in other recent public comments, Rivera was enthusiastic about rookie quarterback Cam Newton and noncommital on the future of disgruntled, veteran wideout Steve Smith.

Rivera said he met with Newton five times before the Panthers picked him No. 1 overall, while GM Marty Hurney, offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski and QB coach Mike Shula had several sit-downs with the former Auburn QB and last year's Heisman Trophy winner.

Rivera said the Panthers will be careful in making sure Chudzinski's vertical-stretch offense has plenty of elements that play to Newton's strengths, which include making plays with his feet.

"We're trying to get him to fit in our offense, but get our offense to fit around him, as well," Rivera said.

Rivera said he has faith in Newton's leadership skills -- "We think he's got what it take to lead an offense" -- and believes critics have overlooked Newton's decision-making ability.

Rivera said he went back and watched each of Newton's throws and runs to see how he reacted to certain situations, and came away impressed.

As for Smith, Rivera indicated the Panthers would try to do what's right for both him and the team.

Smith, who has 2 years and about $15 million left on his contract, has told owner Jerry Richardson he wants to be traded. Dealing Smith for a player or pick will be one of the first priorities after the lockout ends.

--Joseph Person

Posted by Observer Sports on May 10, 2011 at 03:01 PM | Permalink


What is Smith worth in terms of draft picks?

Posted by: sectiontx | May 10, 2011 4:01:42 PM

You don't make the offense fit the player...You pick a player for the offense you run...Dumbing down the playbook for 1 player makes the playbook more difficult for the rest of the team on the offensive side?..Now there are 2 versions?..The Panthers are trying to build backwards and i can see right now this will never work and picking Newton will bite the Panthers hard...Hurnia and Rivera will be gone in 2yrs with this coach killer...Bad draft ,hard schedule and a cue card QB during a lockout!...WOW the future looks bright here...picking #1 2yrs in a row ,Andrew Luck your not getting away!

Posted by: John Fox | May 10, 2011 4:15:45 PM

@ Fox +2!

Posted by: Cam's Entourage | May 10, 2011 4:16:39 PM

make that +3!

Posted by: Cecil Newton | May 10, 2011 4:17:28 PM

damm can newton get on the field 1st before the haters start

Posted by: roderick | May 10, 2011 4:18:09 PM

your an idiot "john fox"

At least use your real name if your going to make stupid comments!

Posted by: leonard | May 10, 2011 4:18:40 PM

what do we have to lose clausen still will be a back up

Posted by: roderick | May 10, 2011 4:19:21 PM

@ John Fox ,will you come back?..were worse off1

Posted by: MRBernz | May 10, 2011 4:19:28 PM

@"LEONARD" YOU need my name since "Leonard" is so telling...idiot!

Posted by: MRBernz | May 10, 2011 4:22:15 PM

Leonard?.. sure don't mean intelligent!

Posted by: John Fox | May 10, 2011 4:23:30 PM

Did Hurney just pick players out of a jar?..Heck the UDFA's out there are better than our draft picks!

Posted by: John Fox | May 10, 2011 4:25:35 PM

@ J Fox...Cmon now It was a hat!

Posted by: John Fox | May 10, 2011 4:26:29 PM

This reminds me of how the Saint's USED TO BE! LOL

Posted by: seenthisb4 | May 10, 2011 4:28:26 PM

With 4.6 speed exactly who can he outrun or juke?..Cam don't have Vick speed or quikness...hmmm

Posted by: Rae Carruth | May 10, 2011 4:33:32 PM

Is this the guy who was defense only all his life and knows nothing about offense who was passed over 7 times until JR came along?
What about the weak arm and Scam Newton baggage?
We heard murderer Rae Carruth may be getting out of prison and hired by Rivera soon too.

Moral-less. Classless. Corrupt. Criminal. Rogue. Scandalous. Scummy. Extortionists. Gluttonous.

Sounds like pro sports in general in the modern age.

Posted by: Club Gitmo | May 10, 2011 4:36:48 PM

OMG!!!! The Panthers are going to throw the ball down the field. The playbook will change to match the players strengths!!! Last year's playbook was run up the middle, throw ball out of bounds. The Jake Delhomme downfield playbook involved throwing up jump balls to Steve Smith. Give Rivera and Newton a chance. It can't get any worse.

Posted by: Nosebleed fan | May 10, 2011 4:37:25 PM

BOY ,Cam better be good ,because there will not be 2nd chances here as quick as Clausen was thrown under the bus...I can see bofa now you can here the boo's in Hickory if he stumbles on a 2-14 team.

Posted by: TWIGGY | May 10, 2011 4:38:00 PM

Fox and his clueless staff didn't know how to fit anything together.

Posted by: MELISSA | May 10, 2011 4:42:02 PM

OH god we got Green bay for the home open'er?! i see a very ugly situation coming to BofA!

Posted by: Nick Saban | May 10, 2011 4:42:04 PM

@ Nick...and that's the EASY part of the schedule!fwiw

Posted by: Rob | May 10, 2011 4:45:28 PM

I am highly doubtful of Cam Newton's success in the NFL but as a fan I'm willing to give him a fair shot. If this experiment blows up. I give you my solemn vow I will be the loudest fan screaming for Hurney and Rivera's head.

Posted by: rob | May 10, 2011 4:49:37 PM

Cam Newton = BUST

Posted by: Panther Fan | May 10, 2011 4:49:41 PM

Oh "he can run and pass!" lol! won't run very far!

Posted by: Soulja Boi | May 10, 2011 4:50:52 PM

How is Scam Newton going to complete passes, when he can't even complete a sentence. P.S. Maybe he should listen to a question first, before responding.

Posted by: Panther Fan | May 10, 2011 4:54:16 PM

This is not the old school "I run my offense this way or else.". This is a flexible league where coaches have learned to play to their players strengths. You would be an idiot not too. Rae Carruth? Really?

Listen if you feel that bad about Cam and the PANTHERS, sell me your tickets.

Posted by: AG | May 10, 2011 4:54:56 PM

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