Oh, believe me, the Panthers are a relatively "quiet" team in terms of talking trash---or even talking period, sometimes---letting most of the talking be done on the field. But, make no mistake, there is a an understated feeling that the team may be being downplayed---perhaps, overlooked by more than a few NFL-types during this off-season. Dare I say that deep down somewhere that the team is feeling disrespected? David Newton's report on the close of minicamp perhaps says a lot with a little.
Rivera has had something to with that. Instilling work ethic starts at the top and filters down. Rivera learned a long time ago as a player with the 1985 Super Bowl champion Chicago Bears what it takes to be successful.
Creating good competition at every position has helped. Players fighting to win -- or keep -- a job tend to work harder than ones that feel they are secure.
That the critics believe the Panthers will take a hard tumble from last season's 12-4 record also is a factor. It has created a chip on shoulders to prove them wrong.
Rivera seems to relish in Carolina being overlooked as a playoff contender. He had sergeant first class Cedric King, who lost both of his legs in duty, speak to the team before breaking for vacation.
"He talked about ... that a lot of people have written you off, a lot of people aren't expecting much of you, then think last year was a bolt of lightning and it won't strike twice,'' said Rivera, who has had King speak to the team before. "It was neat to have him give these guys a little parting shot in terms of 'let's go out and defy a lot of people.' ''
From Cam to Avant's comments regarding the receivers, to Rivera's reflections in regards to the team of Sgt.Cedric King's words and spirit, there is no lack of motivation for this coming season.
Let competition reign, and "unfinished business" be addressed! This is the culture of our Carolina Panthers.