I never gave up but that's because I want to win even when we are eliminated and every win costs us a draft place because winning is what matters. All those late season runs to 6-10 and 7-9 have mattered and haven't hurt our drafts. In fact we had less pressure to take the right players simply because they fell to us.
What gets wildly undervalued about Rivera and his staff is that they have done a tremendous job developing young talent while coaxing contributions from their veterans. Charles Johnson, Thomas Davis, Kalil and Olsen have thrived under Rivera, while Cam and Luke and Star and Kelvin and Ealy and Norman and Boston and Bene and Kawann, etc. have all grown under his development. The most important part of coaching is bringing out improvement in your young players and Rivera and his staff have done that consistently. Coupled with Gettleman's drafts this can be a potent combination for future success.
What Rivera says there is so key -- for Newton, it's all about being relaxed and having a good time.
So many just don't get that about him. They see him do his Superman celebration when he scores a touchdown and point down the field when the team gets a first down and they think he's showcasing arrogance. But really, he's just playing around. Newton is a big kid -- not in an entitled, Johnny Manziel way, but in a joyful, all-for-the-love-of-the-game way. He works hard and keeps his drama to a minimum -- note how controversy-free his reign at Carolina has been so far -- but he is at his best when he remembers that this game is supposed to be fun. That's when he's able to lead, to improvise, and to do everything that makes him such a special quarterback.