Tag:Ron Rivera
Posted on: July 2, 2011 8:05 pm
Edited on: July 2, 2011 9:09 pm
 

Newton knows 90 percent of Panthers' playbook?

Posted by Will Brinson

Cam Newton has a tough task ahead of him once the lockout's resolved -- he has to learn the entirety of Rob Chudzinski's insanely complex offense, and do so in a short amount of time.

But he's been working with some former NFL quarterbacks, including Chris Weinke, and it appears to be paying huge dividends for the rookie out of Auburn.

According to Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer, these sessions have featured detailed learning of the Panthers' playbook, "about 90 percent of which Weinke has installed."

Essentially, Newton's mimicking the practices he'd be getting in the lost offseason by getting a play from Weinke, calling out the play like he was in the huddle, going through each play's cadence at the line of scrimmage, and then slinging passes to whatever receivers are there.

Entertaining/Iconing

Per Person, some recent attendees include Michael Clayton, Alex Smith, Titus Young and a "couple small-college receivers."

Following the throws, Weinke and former Chudzinski protégé Ken Dorsey -- who we'd also mentioned as a Newton tutor -- make suggestions as to how Newton can improve his mechanics and individual tweaks and designs for each play that's being run.

"He wants to be great," Weinke said.

Newton probably does want to be great -- the issue will be whether or not he's capable of recreating the success he had at Auburn once he gets on the field for the Panthers.

But given how unsettled the NFL's situation is right now, it's pretty darn impressive to see Newton maximizing his offseason, especially when there's no enforced motivation to do so.

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Posted on: June 26, 2011 11:21 am
Edited on: June 27, 2011 7:43 am
 

Panthers might take 3rd-rounder for Smith

Posted by Will Brinson

Steve Smith's travails with the Panthers this offseason have been well documented, despite the calm nature of the relationship.

But it does appear that the Panthers will eventually deal the veteran receiver, which means the only question is what they'll be able to get in return for the 32-year-old wideout.

Joe Pearson of the Charlotte Observer penned a piece over the weekend indicating five things the Panthers need to do when football gets rolling again, and "Deal with Steve Smith" checks in at No. 2.

Pearson correctly believes Carolina will simply trade the "disgruntled receiver" and thinks that "a third-round pick might be enough to pull the trigger."

We're inclined to agree, for a couple of reasons. One, Smith is pretty clearly not going to hang around in Carolina -- if he does, it's because a) no one wants him or b) the Panthers want to much in return.
Smith's Saga in Charlotte

"A" isn't going to happen and "B" seems unlikely, because Carolina's a team on the rebuild who's dealt with missing critical draft picks over the past few years. As such, they value the possession of extra selections on draft day, especially in a time of need.

And for a team like the Chargers -- the top-rumored landing spot for Smith thus far -- a third-rounder seems like a pretty fair price to pay for a guy who'll be under contract for two years, owed $15 million and still has plenty of big plays left in the tank.

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Posted on: June 15, 2011 2:05 pm
 

Hot Routes 6.15.11: Pryor in the first round?!?



Posted by Josh Katzowitz

  • If former Ohio State QB Terrelle Pryor actually did go in the first round of the NFL supplemental draft, CBSSports.com’s own Rob Rang writes that agent Drew Rosenhaus would really have earned his money.
  • If you like to smoke while watching Bills games in person, you’re going to have to change your habits. The Bills have announced that smoking is banned at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Also, since there is no re-entry policy, you can’t leave to smoke and then return.
  • This was my favorite part of the AP story detailing the Bengals player-led workouts. They even clean up after themselves. Following a full-team practice last week at UC, quarterbacks Jordan Palmer and Andy Dalton filled their arms with water bottles and blocking pads and headed for the storage area. Palmer couldn't recall the last time he's had to put the equipment away. “It's been a while," he said.

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Posted on: June 15, 2011 10:06 am
Edited on: June 15, 2011 1:22 pm
 

Fewell still confident about coaching prospects

FewellPosted by Josh Katzowitz

A few months ago, after Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell had gone 0-for-4 on landing a head coaching job in the offseason, Fewell felt fine about his position in the NFL.

He didn’t wonder if he had taken over for Leslie Frazier as the hot new Rooney Rule token interview. In fact, he felt as if the Rooney Rule helped him get his face and his ideas in front of the executives who hire head coaches – not just those who needed new coaches immediately, but for the entire league.

And just because the Browns job went to Pat Shurmur and the Broncos job went to John Fox and the Panthers job went to Ron Rivera and the 49ers job went to Jim Harbaugh – all of them beat out Fewell for those respective positions – that doesn’t mean Fewell feels hopeless.

Instead, Fewell – who was in charge of a Giants defense that ranked No. 7 in the league last year (after it was No. 13 in 2009) – is a confident man.

His attitude hasn't changed. Fewell still feels pretty good about his spot in the NFL.

“I know now, probably more so than ever, that I’m ready,” he told the Newark Star Ledger. “I’m prepared to lead a club and an organization and a football team into battle on Sundays to win a Super Bowl. I learned a lot about administration and organization and preparation as far as the interview process is concerned.”

Fewell's journey
Not only has Fewell steadily improved New York’s defensive ranking, he also has true proof that he can be a successful head coach. In 2009, the Bills fired Dick Jauron midway though the season, and they elevated Fewell – the defensive coordinator in Buffalo – to the interim head coach position.

Almost miraculously, Fewell led the Bills to a 3-4 record during the final seven games, giving his head coaching profile a huge boost. It was a wonderful performance by Fewell, and though the Bills passed him over in order to hire Chan Gailey, Fewell suddenly became a legit candidate.

Obviously, he went undefeated in NOT getting a new job this offseason.

But like Frazier before him, Fewell eventually will land his head coaching job. And it will have had nothing to do with the Rooney Rule.

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Posted on: June 7, 2011 7:45 am
Edited on: June 7, 2011 10:28 am
 

Steve Smith calls Newton, Rivera 'outstanding'

Posted by Will Brinson

Lost in all the hubbub surrounding the likely departure of Steve Smith from Carolina is the fact that nothing bad has been said between the two parties.

In fact, it's quite the opposite -- Smith and the Panthers have been very pleasant about their relationship. Smith continued that offseason tradition on Monday, when he referred to Carolina's rookie quarterback Cam Newton as "outstanding."

"The drafting of Cam is outstanding," Smith said. "Met with him a few times and very much impressed by Cam."

This is in stark contrast to how Smith seemed to view Jimmy Clausen, last year's rookie quarterback, with whom Smith seemed to often grow frustrated. (He wasn't alone; ask any Panthers fan.)

But it's also the word Smith used to describe head coach Ron Rivera, who heretofore hasn't been doing Smith any favors by seeming less than optimistic about Smith returning to Charlotte.

"When I met Ron I would say they maybe sold him short. He's great, a great guy," Smith said. "My first meeting with him was pretty good, it was outstanding. I walked away very impressed."
Smith's Saga in Charlotte

Now, again, all parties have been very amicable during the offseason, although Smith's house is up for sale -- later with a reduced price -- and Smith all but shipped out of Charlotte.

It's probably too much to expect that the sides will be on the same page when/if the season starts, and it's more than likely that Smith ends up going somewhere else.

But it's still worth noting that nothing mean has been said quite yet.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: June 5, 2011 6:57 pm
 

Smith out of Carolina 'not a foregone conclusion'

Posted by Will Brinson

We've covered at fairly decent length the saga of Steve Smith and the inevitable conclusion of him playing football somewhere other than Carolina next season. (The hottest rumor? The Chargers.)

But maybe we're all just jumping on our conclusion mats a bit early; Panthers coach Ron Rivera says, according to Joe Pearson of the Charlotte Observer, it's "not a foregone conclusion" that Smith is headed out of town next year.

"We had a great conversation. He was honest. He was forthright," Rivera said. "He did kind of leave me at a point where I was wondering exactly where does he want to go with this? I will wait until we sit down and talk when the time comes."

Hmmm. That last little bit doesn't sound quite as sure as the "not a foregone conclusion" part.

In fact, Rivera almost seems to be using the phrase as a nice way of saying "It's only a 99-percent chance that he's gone" rather than advising people to assume that Smith will leave.
Smith's Saga in Charlotte

He has to do that though, because Smith's under contract through the 2012 season, and if it's painfully obvious that he both sides want him gone, it's much more difficult to get good value in a trade.

That being said, there are plenty of teams who could use Smith's talent and unique skillset -- the Chargers actually really stand out in that category -- and once the lockout's lifted, it sure does seem like Smith will essentially be considered in the same category as "free agents."

He just has the added bonus of not needing a new contract before the season starts.

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Posted on: June 3, 2011 10:08 pm
 

Goodell optimistic about direction of labor talks

Roger Goodell said he's optimistic about the labor talks (AP).Posted by Josh Katzowitz

The Charlotte Observer’s Joe Person caught up with commissioner Roger Goodell today at Fort Bragg in Fayetteville, N.C., and perhaps predictably Goodell said he’s optimistic about the latest (not-so-secret!) labor talks.

Goodell was coming off three days of meetings with the NFLPA in Chicago, and the first question he took during a fan forum was from a soldier who couldn’t understand why the league had such a tough time splitting $9 billion.

He gave his typical answer about protecting the game and blah, blah, blah (he probably threw something in there about how this can’t be solved through litigation), but Goodell later said he was confident the two sides were on the right track to finding a lockout solution (in case you need a timeline to what's been happening, we've got you covered).

"I think both sides want to continue the dialogue, and I think that's a positive thing," Goodell said, via Person. "The importance is to have the principles talk. That's what we were interested in doing is having the owners and the players talk to one another. That was accomplished this week."

And since Person covers the Panthers, he couldn’t resist giving a little Carolina quarterback news, via coach Ron Rivera.

With the Panthers needing to add a veteran QB to help the progress of No. 1 pick Cam Newton (and Jimmy Clausen, I suppose), Rivera said that person could be former Panthers starter Matt Moore.

"Here's a guy that was slated to have a good opportunity to be the starter," Rivera said. "And unfortunately, things didn't work out for him. So we've got to look at that as well when we get to that point."

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Posted on: April 24, 2011 10:39 am
 

Offseason checkup: Carolina Panthers

Posted by Will Brinson

J. Clausen hopes to get Carolina turned around in 2011 (Getty).

Eye on Football's playing doctor for every NFL team with our Offseason Check-ups



Not to try and bring back the Anchorman meme that probably became uncool a few years ago, but, man, things really got out of hand fast in Carolina, didn't they? John Fox is gone, Ron Rivera is in, Jerry Richardson is likely not too popular with the fans because of the labor situation, and the draft-pick situation for the Panthers is a nightmare.

There's also a pile of questions relating to how 2011 will unfold based on the rules once the labor situation is settled. And the whole problem of everyone else in the NFC South being potentially dominant or at least pretty good ... primarily because of quarterback play. And thus, we see the Panthers problem: they need a franchise quarterback. Andrew Luck's decision to return to school put a big crimp in the plans for the No. 1 overall pick, and Cam Newton's been penciled in at this point by basically anyone.  

Even if he is the pick, the Panthers can't negotiate with him, so who knows at this point? There's ample argument for why Carolina should take a cornerback, a defensive tackle, trade the top pick, or just roll the dice with Newton.




Defensive Tackle, Quarterback

The odd things about Carolina's roster is that in 2010, they had the talent to succeed. Injuries (Jeff Otah and Thomas Davis most notably), poor play (Matt Moore and Jimmy Clausen most notably) and an awkward coaching situation changed things dramatically and the team unraveled. It became pretty clear, though, that even with a talented offensive line and two superb running backs in Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams, you can't run the ball if no one respects your passing game.

Can Newton fix that passing game? Is his upside worth passing on a very-much-needed defensive tackle like Marcell Dareus out of Alabama? Does it even matter if Newton can be Tim Tebow 2.0 and sell a pile of jerseys while making the Panthers nationally relevant, at least for a season?

It seems clear that Newton's going to either be a total home run, though not likely right away, or an absolute, unmitigated disaster. There might be an in-between area, but given the hype surrounding the potential No.1-overall pick, it's hard to imagine Newton settling into something that's just "average."



1. Quarterback
Value Over Replacement Player is typically a statistic that you see in baseball. But the notion remains true when you talk about the MVP race: how would the Patriots fare if you took out Tom Brady and plugged in an "average" quarterback? Well, the Panthers showed that if you plug in the player most below average in the NFL, disaster ensues. Quarterback is absolutely the most important position of need for Carolina -- it's just a matter of whether or not Newton or Blaine Gabbert could end up becoming "the guy" in Carolina as a top pick, just one season after the Panthers apparently wasted a second-rounder on Clausen. No one -- and I mean NO ONE -- can know the answer until we sees how it plays out. That's what makes their top pick so insanely controversial.

2. Defensive Tackle
Making the Panthers' choice at the top of the draft even more difficult is the presence of Dareus, who seems like a pretty good bet to succeed in the NFL. Or, at least, to not flop at defensive tackle. With (maybe) four winnable games on the 2011 schedule, the Panthers could conceivably draft Dareus, hope they perform to 2010-level expectations with a vastly more difficult schedule, and land Andrew Luck in the next season. Playing chicken with a franchise quarterback and gambling on losing a lot isn't really an efficient way to manage in the NFL, but is drafting Cam Newton really a safer option?

3. More Draft Picks
I said this for Denver and they probably have more holes to fill than the Panthers, but Carolina doesn't even have a second-rounder because they traded their pick to the Patriots in order to draft Armanti Edwards out of Appalachian State, which might secretly be the worst draft decision in quite some time, especially because it's the first pick on the second day of the draft and a coveted spot. With a draft that's deep at defensive line, and the Panthers in need of a cornerback, a quarterback and a defensive tackle, having more picks -- as opposed to, say, LESS picks -- would be a pretty big advantage for the franchise.



2011 could be disastrous for the Panthers. I mentioned four winnable games, and that's not a joke: can they beat Detroit in Ford Field? Arizona out west? Tennessee at home in Week 10? Washington at home in Week 7? The Jaguars at home in Week 3? Okay, that's actually five, so we're getting somewhere! Or not -- those games are as far from locks as you get, and they're the easiest ones on the schedule. Maybe an upset or two in the NFC South is doable, but that's a bit optimistic for anyone who watched what happened in 2010.

Hey, but hope springs eternal. Or something. Ron Rivera's got a talented staff in place and the Panthers do still have a roster with some stars; at the very least, they've got studly linebackers and a strong offensive line, should free agency fall they way they want (and when you've got your owner leading the negotiations, well, that's never a bad thing). Drafting Newton could immediately reenergize the fanbase and turn out to be an absolute gamechanger when it comes to the franchise's future. But if there's one team that actually wouldn't mind seeing a lockout last through the entire 2011 season, it's probably Carolina.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com