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May 18, 2012

Rivera: Panthers have not arrived

With Cam Newton a year older and the expected return of a couple of injured defensive starters, the Panthers have become a trendy pick as a team that can contend for the NFC South title.

But as Ron Rivera prepares for next week's OTA practices, the second-year Panthers coach has a message for his players: Don't believe the hype.

Rivera, speaking to the Observer on Friday, is pleased with how the Panthers finished 2011 by winning four of their final six games. But Rivera said his team hasn't proven anything, yet.

We have not taken the next step. We have not arrived, in any fashion or manner,” Rivera said.

I think it's Woody Hayes who said: 'If you give a man something he hasn't earned, you've lessened who he is.' And I don't want that. I don't want us to think we've arrived. I don't want anybody telling us, oh, you guys are going to the playoffs. No, you're not. You don't know who's going to the playoffs. That's why you play them.”

Because of the lockout, the Panthers did not have the benefit of OTAs or minicamps before Rivera's first season. Rivera is looking forward to competitions at several positions this summer, most notably at the No. 2 wide receiver and cornerback spots, free safety, left guard and right tackle – the position formerly occupied by the oft-injured Jeff Otah.

Otah has missed all but four games the past two seasons with knee injuries, and Rivera made it clear Otah would not be handed the job upon his return.

Nobody's getting anything there. Byron Bell did a hell of a job for us last year,” Rivera said. “We know what Jeff's capable of. But the problem with Jeff is we haven't really seen him in two years. It's up to Jeff. If Jeff wants to come back and be a huge part of it, it's on him. He's got to do the things we ask him to do. He's got to do them the right way.”

Look for much more from Rivera in Sunday's editions of the Observer.

--Joseph Person

 

Posted by Observer Sports on May 18, 2012 at 04:00 PM | Permalink

Comments

"We know what Jeff's capable of. But the problem with Jeff is we haven't really seen him in two years. It's up to Jeff. If Jeff wants to come back and be a huge part of it, it's on him. He's got to do the things we ask him to do. He's got to do them the right way.”

Translation, "Otah has been dogging it and he is gone unless he plays through the pain"

Posted by: Jimcat | May 18, 2012 4:25:41 PM

"Byron Bell did a hell of a job for us last year."

HUH?????????????

If 2-3 false start/holding penalties every game constitutes "a hell of a job," he's got to be on something. Call Rivera in for a drug test, then send me whatever he's on. It apparently makes for some fine hallucinations.

Posted by: J | May 18, 2012 4:33:33 PM

J you might want to consider context. dude was a 22 year old rookie undrafted free agent. he DID a hell of a job.

Posted by: charlottean | May 18, 2012 4:44:36 PM

Being an UDFA Rookie Byron Bell did do "a hell of a job". Yes, he did make mistakes. If he had been mistake proof, they would have drafted him in the first round. Give the guy alittle break, He was an undrafted rookie and was pushed into starting with no offseason. He his starting point ... He did one hell of a job and will be an asset in the future.

Posted by: Darrell | May 18, 2012 4:47:37 PM

Gotta love the new no BS attitude Rivera has brought here. So much better than what it used to be. Competition at every position will only make this team better and him making it a point to say that nobody's job is safe will do just that. The next 3 months can't go fast enough!

Posted by: Mike P | May 18, 2012 5:04:03 PM

"the Panthers have become a trendy pick as a team that can contend for the NFC South title."

Everything I've read has shown no respect for the Panthers. Vegas even predicts a 6-10 season. Who constitutes "trendy"? There is no citation of a source here.

Posted by: Nick | May 18, 2012 5:23:31 PM

Everybody talking about my boy, Ace Boogie having a "sophomore slump" fail to realize one thing. That's something ordinary QB's go through.

Posted by: gatorade towel | May 18, 2012 5:29:22 PM

I am the Panthers. Watch you boy live this September thru Feb. I will make it happen all by myself.

Boogie's nose is cleaned,

OUT

Posted by: ace boogie | May 18, 2012 7:17:17 PM

Bell is just fine. Rookie mistakes. At least you can count on him to be there when we need him. Otah could be great but is a big baby when it comes playing with pain.

Posted by: Johnson isnt the SCUM U R | May 18, 2012 10:43:16 PM

@ace boogie....

No pieces missing or broken. You are a COMPLETE MORON !!!

Don't believe for one nanosecond that you are Cam Newton.

Posted by: MrMixx | May 18, 2012 10:54:35 PM

Totally agree with Mike P, I gain more confidence in this team every time I hear coach Rivera talk. Love it! It is about time that pressure is put on Otah, he could be very good but he has been very weak. Time to put up or get out, period. That's the deal in Charlotte going forward!

Posted by: JLC | May 18, 2012 10:56:37 PM

I really like coach's attitude. Instead of "It is what it is", we have people earning their slots. Bell, as well, stepped up big as a rookie.

Last year I believe we had the most people on IR that we have ever had and were still 4-2 down the stretch. Cam is the real deal. Our running game is awesome and we picked up Tolbert to add a new dimension to the team. There is no way this team is a 6-10 team this year. If Vegas has them there, they are going to contribute to my retirement fund.

Posted by: Steve Gilmore | May 18, 2012 11:37:18 PM

We are goind 10-6 period!!!

Posted by: White Choclate | May 19, 2012 8:16:16 AM

Any team where Bell and McClain might be starters and Fua is a number one replacement is in big trouble.

Posted by: Ron R | May 19, 2012 11:47:24 AM

Pity da Kity emphasizes the stupidity that comes out of that turd-heap of a city New Orleans. It wouldn't be such a bad idea if the government took everyone out of there, imploded the city then just flooded it forever. Good riddance.

Posted by: Greg | May 20, 2012 12:00:03 PM

Vegas has it about right. 6-10. We are still very weak in the D-Line and secondary. We are one injury to Smitty or Cam away from another 2 win season.

Posted by: Show me first | May 21, 2012 9:50:00 AM

I Personally saw Jeff Otah and Eric Norwood at a gas station buying beer and black n mild cigars. Otah's DONE! I'd be surprised if he makes the final roster. Another great move by Hurney

Posted by: anon | May 21, 2012 10:45:09 AM

RR is BSing more than Fox ever did with his glowing praise of Bell: he is obviously trying to berate Otah back onto the field. The only praise-worthy trait about Bell for 2011 is that he was there. He was statistically one of the worst OT's in the league, be it all the false starts or the steady flow of defenders passing him by. At one point, Cam said he felt safer on the run than in the pocket: that's not a sterling recommendation for your line and I don't think the problem was on the left side. As long as they were starting a rookie, I had hoped Cam's Auburn protector would get a shot, if for no other reason than he might have better feel for when the man behind him might zig or zag. If Otah falters this year, I would not be overly surprised if Campbell steps in and Otah out the door.

Posted by: Cat Fan | May 21, 2012 8:33:25 PM

Lol!!! Love all the comments, except that NO 'Aint fan's. Ron, you do realize your team is going to give up 30 points per game, and go 0-16. If Brees is smart, he'll opt to go to another team. Bounty days are over, your prized linebacker can't even step foot on 'Aint's grounds, let alone put an 'Aints uniform on. Most of all, you're gonna have a coach that is effective as a legal aid filling in for a convict because he couldn't afford an actual lawyer. Though I? Sure you know all about that because you probably are doing 20 years right now. You guys are done!!! Also, I F***ed your troll mother while you were typing that comment. Lol!!!

Posted by: jpart122500 | May 21, 2012 8:38:17 PM

Lol!!! Love all the comments, except that NO 'Aint fan's. Ron, you do realize your team is going to give up 30 points per game, and go 0-16. If Brees is smart, he'll opt to go to another team. Bounty days are over, your prized linebacker can't even step foot on 'Aint's grounds, let alone put an 'Aints uniform on. Most of all, you're gonna have a coach that is effective as a legal aid filling in for a convict because he couldn't afford an actual lawyer. Though I? Sure you know all about that because you probably are doing 20 years right now. You guys are done!!! Also, I F***ed your troll mother while you were typing that comment. Lol!!!

Posted by: jpart122500 | May 21, 2012 8:38:46 PM

If Beason stays healthy, If Newton and Smitty stay healthy we got a shot at the NFC south championship. If not we will go 8-8 giving up the lead in the fourth quarter just like last year.

Posted by: Derek | May 22, 2012 9:58:55 AM

I'm starting to think people just regurgitate the things they read. Hint: watch the games as opposed to reading about them from nobodies. Something for the haters to think about.. 2002 record 7-9. We lost a multitude of games by just a couple points. Fast forward
To 2003 and we went 11-5 and went to the super bowl. The difference? We learned how to win close games in which u haw to do to be a champion.

Posted by: Braff | May 25, 2012 2:31:45 AM

Leaders are born (Newton, beason, Smitty, Kalil) however you have to learn how to be a champion in order to play that way. Look for those close loses to turn into close wins this season.
KEEP POUNDING!!!! And no
I don't mind standing up and yelling for an entire game. Give ur tix to real fans please

Posted by: Braff | May 25, 2012 2:35:29 AM

The comments to this entry are closed.

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