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Rivera Admits He's Been Nervous-Per Jeff Darlington NFL.com

02 January 2015 - 07:14 AM

On NFL Network television early this morning, Jeff Darlington was interviewed in one of those quick segments from Carolina practice for the upcoming Panther playoff game.


We've all heard how Ron Rivera and the team are calm now?


Well, maybe this is how they got there? Darlington mentioned that Rivera told him, he felt his 'team wasn't currently practicing for Arizona seriously enough in his opinion.


He continued, when Rivera went and looked at the Arizona practice film, he realized the team WAS practicing seriously, professionally enough, and concluded maybe HE WAS THE ONE that was nervous and hyper (Rivera himself) about the upcoming game. Yes, Darlington relayed this.


Darlington noted, Rivera proceeded to reflect upon last years San Francisco playoff game as a reference point/learning lesson that he didn't want to repeat. Rivera, felt one of the reasons his team lost was because they were all too hyper then.


Currently, Rivera feels both he and his team are in the right place and their calm, ready for this weeks playoff match. He say's they feel good (as many of you heard). .


First off: I'm glad Rivera admitted this. Because since he recognized it; hopefully it's been corrected (as he's indicated). Cause I for one, feel Rivera's nervousness has translated to his team during big games; Rivera/Newton's second season when he was greeted with higher expectations; anytime the Panthers start to receive media hype/attention; his infamous bye record-when he has time to think games, and night games to name a few.


I pondered writing this post, cause I know some of you feel I'm biased and I have it in for Rivera. I don't.  Hell, if Cam and Benjamin can be routinely criticized by overzealous fans here, you don't feel Ron Rivera can? :startle: Come on now? I, and others, judge him simply as an NFL Head Coach. He's got some strengths; yes. However, he's learning, and has some obvious holes and weaknesses in his coaching and team management as well. That's been well documented over the  years.


Ok enough/Saying all that: I feel the Panthers are going to play a good game this weekend......Shoot! I feel they have as good a chance as any,  to advance far in the playoffs; no matter who they play (damn you national media, commentators).


Good Luck Ron. I hope you're correct.  Free Cam and the offense (the pass rush and secondary as well). :thumbsu:


Note sure if there's an accompanying article on NFL.com to link?


Sorry guys. I meant "NFL Network". :sick: Early morning post. Lol



Steve Smith Is ON WFNZ Having A Confessional, Won't Let the Story End

01 October 2014 - 11:12 AM

Developing story right now, unless I'm dreaming. So bear with me on the developing, play by play nature and posting without a proper introduction guys (rest assured, I've been editing, cleaning it up; adding better situational context the best I can).


There was no lead in or promotion of his call. It just happened (apparently Smith called in on his own); surprising everyone, including me. I was working, and had FNZ on for background, then boom I hear Smitty going All In! .And Boy, he said a mouthful! I had to listen carefully for current authentic cues before I posted, cause it was so unexpected and passionate. It was as unexpected as it was surreal!


My guess? Must be a response to the Ian Rappaport story (regarding: Smith was the one that actually asked for a release; not Gettleman--RELEASING  SMITH, along with his Cam Newton RedZone passing comments), and being criticized on it.  Gotta throw in Smith's emotional/bi-polar personality in the mix as well? Lol The Call Up show guys, following The Mac Attack  went in hard against Smith regarding the Rappaport story as well in particular.


The interview itself was crazy. Smith started like he was basically crying on Bustin Loose with Frank and Mark Yarborough (after he got past the opening pleasantries). Quite emotional, yes. Blood and Guts indeed.


He went in hard on GMan and Rivera. Kinda spared everyone one else (including JR, the guy that signs everyone's checks-- when asked). Guess Smitty still wants to be retired by JR at sometime, huh? He knows who not to criticize.  Lol.


Smitty felt, DG was disrespectful, and Rivera wasn't being a coach, a Man to him. Honestly? It sounds like a bad break up.


The Link is at the bottom of my post. It's 20 Blood and Guts spilled; Chock Full of quotable, emotional, passionate minutes of The Great Ex Panther--Smith's feelings on his Panther breakup.


Here some highlights (and they're a lot) for those who want, have to read it first:


Said he started receiving several text while taking some college course while in Salt Lake City, Utah after the season regarding what was happening with his Panther career from his contacts, and later his agent. Smith said his text and feedback read, "I'm a  distraction"..."Not as good as I used to be".... "Gotta worry about my tenure with Carolina", etc.


When he did meet with GMan after several delays/attempts; said GMan told him: He's a shadow of the player he used to be... He can't run and jump like he used to be.... "We're going to trade you".  After hearing all Smith; told his wife, he would "be traded or released". Added; no one would trade for a "35 yr old distraction". Stuff like that.


Smith, not only discussed, Gettleman delayed discussing his tenure. Said he "doesn't have the "cajones" to tell him he was going to release him to his face! Regarding his contract restructure: Said he would have lost a $5 mil bonus (deferred $$); stating that was "guaranteed money". So it wasn't a simply restructuring. Smitty would have lost money, he says.


In an nutshell: Smitty, basically said GMan took him into a corner and scolded him. You can't make this up. Lol He added: "it was personal" with me and Dave Gettlemen. It's obvious "I did something that got underneath his skin". He Repeats: "Gettlemen said I was a distraction".


When answering a question from Frank regarding his being a possible distraction on the team; Smith says/and I quote,  "All I did was hit other teammates (talking about the ones he's punched in the past) 6 or 7 yrs ago, but I didn't beat my wife", etc., when asked about his pay cut". What you said Steve about 'just punching a couple of teammates out (Yikes/What!)'??  This is not made up folks. SMH/Lol


When asked what does he have to say to Dave Gettlemen, he says "I have nothing to say to him". Smith added: "I didn't ask for a release. I just wanted to play ball"


More tidbits: He Knocked Jake being emotional (by just calling out his name in the comparison, if you ask me) when asked about his recent QB comments. Said Joe [Flacco] Cool was/is more calm in the huddle. But he did not knock Cam while saying this. I repeat. He did not knock Cam during the ongoing interview regarding this subject or anything else.


Speaking about Newton. Smith recalled, "Cam didn't even know I was cut". Said Cam wrote him a nice letter and text him after. Mentioned he had no ill towards Newton at all.


Regarding their relationship, pointed out Cam's not 35 years old with kids and they're not going to play Madden together; implying they wouldn't be hanging out like that off the field. So no biggie. Makes sense. Was very calm and cool discussing Cam. Nothing Snarky or emotional at all, such as with Rivera and GMan.


Note: He did not mention Cam, when asked after about the guys on the team he respects (after naming several players). However, it appears Smith was just talking about/named defenders at the time, since they're the ones he goes against in practice.


Smith added later; he has high standards, "And maybe I need to bring people up to my level", regarding his alleged attitude, competitiveness, and ferocity.


Back to Gettleman: "Yes it's personal with Dave Gettlemen". He reiterates: "Obviously I did something that got underneath his skin".


When asked to compare the differences between Ron Rivera and Harbaugh. Smitty said: Rivera never spoke to him the entire time he was being evaluated (I'm guessing about him, his situation), and finally spoke to him after the win Sunday. Smith said, he didn't care; was going to "put out there (his Rivera feelings/comments)". Smitty was obviously not happy with how Rivera distanced himself from him/the situation.


Amongst other things regarding Rivera. Smitty quipped "Stabbed in the back". Say's Rivera "wasn't a man" and didn't talk to him throughout the ordeal'. Says, "we supposed to be boys and you respected me. But you don't talk to me through the ordeal"? Adding; "But now you want to shake may hand after the game, and you talked to the media; why"? Yes, he said that! He was not happy with Ron Ron at all. He described it all as Rivera 'Hiding In His Office' when everything was going down!


Later says, every guy has problems and Egos on teams (responding to himself/reputation on the team). But to make them/him a problem....He thinks the Panthers are trying to justify why he isn't there by making him a scapegoat.


Says, there are 'Villains and heroes in the world". Says "Lois Lane don't love Clark Kent; she loves Superman. And I'm Lex Luther. And without Lev Luthor, you can't have Superman", when summarizing himself. That's Smitty!


Wow, this is like a soap opera/bad break up. And Smitty, really seemed to have it in for Rivera and Gettleman in this one! He's full of quotes.


Just finished at 12:26 pm Weds, October 1st. Started at 12:05.  Wow!


Seems to me Smitty wanted to be/feel loved, and he didn't like how everything went down (regardless of how it happened)? He wasn't happy he was being evaluated, and I guess just expected business as usual (The Marty Hurney Way). Lotta scars there.


My question: What do the Ravens think about him doing this, when he's a teammate of them right now?


Whew! We all need a break! The link is below.




Note: Bustin Loose will replay it at 2pm. Primetime will re-broadcast at 4pm



Shula Happy With His New Toys-Per David Newton

10 August 2014 - 11:00 AM

Wow, we've all heard about Kelvin Benjamin during Preseason. And we've speculated about his impact on the field (for both himself, and fellow Panther receivers), especially after his spectacular  preseason game catch Friday.


Well So has Mike Shula. He appears very excited about all the new Panther additions, and what they can do for his offense and various new formations and sets he can run this year that he couldn't necessarily run last year.


Of course, much of this excitement starts with rookie Kelvin Benjamin, then moves forward to others (Olsen, Cotchery, Dickson, Avant). Here's a few snippets from David Newton's article on Mike Shula excitement of the "New" Panther Offense


The Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator still is learning everything these new toys can do, but he likes what he's seen so far -- particularly from a certain 6-foot-5, 240-pound gadget after his spectacular catch in Friday night's 20-18 preseason loss to Buffalo.

Shula believes he has flexibility to have more fun with this new toys than his old ones, and that has the potential to make his offense better than a year ago.

"Yeah!" Shula said. "Heck yeah!"



Here are Newton and Shula again, after Newton writes about the 29th ranked Panther Passing offense and receivers in 2013


But it was obvious the offense needed an overhaul if the overall team was to improve. That's why Shula is excited about his new toys, particularly as it pertains to his new wide receivers -- rookie Kelvin Benjamin (the 6-5 toy), veterans Jerricho Cotchery and Jason Avant -- and tight end Ed Dickson.

"It been great," Shula said. "They've come in with a workmanlike attitude, very serious, eager to prove themselves and earn a spot on the team. Competition is a beautiful thing. These guys get along good."



This next line here, says a mouthful many of us have already known.


Shula isn't dishing on his old toys. But wide receiver Steve Smith, who was released in March, is 35 and at the end of his career. He didn't always get along. Brandon LaFell, Ted Ginn Jr. and Domenik Hixon were adequate, but not irreplaceable.

Sometimes you have to tear things apart to move forward. That's what Carolina has done.

"We're starting over with guys that are knowledgeable, that are smart guys, that there's a reason why they've been in the league," Shula said. "They're new, but it's kind of been a positive thing."



Here, Shula speaks about Benjamin, the reclamation our beloved Two TE Set formations, and their respective impact on the Panther offense, and opposing defenses in 2014.


He's emerged as a No. 1 receiver that the 5-9 Smith admittedly wasn't anymore.

"He's such a big target, it has to give you more confidence as a quarterback, like a jump shooter with a basket that is twice as big," Shula said.

Dickson, a free agent pickup from Baltimore, also was a big addition. Putting him opposite Greg Olsen, the team's leading receiver in 2013, in a two-tight end set has opened possibilities that Shula didn't have last season.

Defenses will have to commit eight players to the box, which will prevent double-teams on receivers and free up the entire offense.

"It gives you flexibility," Shula said. "It makes you less predictable by personnel groupings. So if all of a sudden you come in with two tight ends, you're not necessarily going to run the ball, you're not necessarily going to be in single-back, you're not necessarily going to have two tight ends on the edge


"So now the defense can't just say, 'Oh, well, they're just going to play these formations, and out of these formations they're going to run just these plays.'"



Lastly, Shula's very excited about Cam Newton's sharpness and leadership, despite his ankle recovery:


At the core of Shula's excitement is Newton. The only thing sharper than his timing with receivers has been his leadership. Nobody has been more active in encouraging players who do well and motivating them when they need pushing.

"With all that there's a calmness and confidence," Shula said of the fourth-year quarterback. "He's always had that cool personality on the field. Now there's some added confidence with experience."

Old toys, new toys.

Shula has a lot more to play with now.



I loved how Shula discussed the impact and unpredictability of formations on the defense which KB and two TE sets can bring. This is something Panther fans have longed for from their OC the past year. I'm glad Shula sees what many of us see. Hopefully, he and Ramsdall will know how to properly utilize them, and Panther fans will see a return of both the big play offense (20+ yd plays), and Big sure handed possession receivers/TE's--of two seasons ago--moving the chains?  I think/hope they will (do it, and we'll see it)!? It may even open up the struggling run game with space, and a less crowded LOS?


I know many of us have not been in love with Shula so far; granted. However, it appears Shula and Co, only worked with what they had last year (to great team success). So let's give them a chance in 2014 with a more versatile offense, particularly in the receivers and Tight Ends. Hopefully, one of the RB's shows up as well?


National Media, get ready for another Panther "surprise" in 2014.

Now only if they can find someone to run back Punts and Kick off returns adequately. :phew: