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Rivera's remarks: WR Smith back

Posted Aug 15, 2011

Comments from Carolina Panthers Head Coach Ron Rivera.

On how the Panthers practiced following their first preseason game: I liked it. I thought the pace, the tempo was very good. The nice thing is the guys got an opportunity to recover with Sunday off and then come back; we had meetings in the morning. I thought their spirit, their attitude was right. I thought we learned something today. We're finishing up our installations and we should have our last installation practice early next week. I'm pretty excited about that as we start looking toward getting ready for the regular season.

On how much of the offense and defense have been installed to this point: I still think it's a ways to go. But what we talked about doing was keeping our base fundamentals and getting those things down first and foremost. Then as we start getting ready for the regular season, we'll start adding the things that we will need. And it all goes back to being able to have our bases down and understanding exactly what we need to do.

On if quarterback Cam Newton got more reps with the first team tonight: No, it's the same. We're going to continue to do that until we get to the point where we make that decision.

On when he will make a decision about the starting quarterback: (Preseason) Week three.

On getting wide receiver Steve Smith back from a finger injury: He struggled initially and you could see it. He was wincing when the ball hit his hands. They were giving him a little grief about it. Then he settled in, got used to it and started making some plays. So it was exciting to have him back on the field, that's for darn sure.

On tackle Jeff Otah: Jeff's progressing very well. They're doing a real nice job. He's sticking to the plan in terms of rehabbing and getting ready to go. It's just a matter of time. But he's coming along very well, he's been attentive to what he has to do, and I'm pretty pleased with that.

On if Otah reinjured his knee: No. It was a result of really just being at this point of camp. The thing that got us concerned was that he did have a little swelling on it, so we thought we better back off. Then after the doctors checked him, we've got a plan and he's following it.

On why quarterback Tony Pike did not practice: Tony is getting another look at it (shoulder) just to see how it is.

On why fullback Tony Fiammetta did not practice: Tony had a neck stinger in the game, and it flared up on him today, so we pulled him out from practice.

On the influence of Derek Anderson on the team's young quarterbacks: I think he's been outstanding. You couldn't ask for a more veteran guy to come in and embrace the role of a mentor, and he's been terrific with both quarterbacks. While one's out there, he's talking to the other one - telling about what the guy is doing or should be doing. Then when the other guy goes out, he'll tell you, "You should have done that. You should have done this." It has been very good, it really has. He's been terrific, and I know our guys appreciate him.

On if anything changed about his evaluation of the quarterbacks' performance against the New York Giants after watching the tape: No. The thing that was really good about the way they played was it was right in line with the things that we thought they were capable of doing. Again, some of the things that did happen were the results of making a couple of bad decisions, missing a couple of blocks, running a couple of the wrong routes. It was a team thing. It goes back to protecting the quarterback, running good routes and then making good decisions. When you break down in one of those three phases as far as offense is concerned, you're going to have problems and that's what happened to us.

On what he was most pleased with after watching the tape: I said it and I really do mean it is they played hard. It's like today. I'm pleased with the fact they came out and practiced hard. We made some mistakes and we made mistakes again today. But the thing is if we're going to play hard and practice hard and do things that we need to do, we'll give ourselves a chance.

On developing the Ron Rivera culture: I wouldn't call it culture as much as understanding the way that we want to do things. It comes back to being different. They had a system here that was in place and had some good success with it. I'm trying to do something that's a little bit different, so I want to build it as a team and as an organization and get everybody to buy into the way we need to do things and the way I believe that you have to do things to win.

On how having a veteran like tight end Greg Olsen helps in that process: Whenever you have a guy that wants to be a part of what you're doing, that's important because they help sell it. It's that old saying, "If you don't know the product, if you don't believe in the product, you can't sell it." And it's good having people that believe in what we're trying to get across to the players.