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Carolina Panthers

Panthers-Chargers have coaching connections


As he prepares to face a franchise he was a part of four years and a head coach he admires, Panthers head coach Ron Rivera broke down the challenges of his familiarity with San Diego.

Rivera knows all about Norv Turner's scheme and philosophy. After spending one season as the inside linebackers coach (2007) and three as defensive coordinator (2008-10), Rivera also knows quite a bit about the Chargers personnel.


"If Norv knows that you know that he knows, and he thinks he knows that you know… watch out," Rivera explained.

Simple enough.

Kidding aside, Rivera's point is simple, and it applies to every opponent on the schedule. You may know what's coming, but that's irrelevant if you don't execute.

"It's funny, people say, 'I knew he was going to throw a fastball.' Well if you knew it, why didn't you hit it? 'I knew they were going to run the ball.' Well, then why didn't you make the tackle?" Rivera said.

"I guess my whole point is that it really doesn't matter. You have to execute what you want to do."

Turner admitted it'll be quite the reunion of former colleagues, and even family at Qualcomm Stadium on Sunday. 

"Obviously, the relationship Ron and I have and the time we spent here," Turner said in a conference call. "Then you add to it (Panthers secondary/pass defense coordinator) Steve Wilks, who I think the world of, as the secondary coach and it probably gets deeper than that when you add (Panthers offensive coordinator) Rob Chudzinski, who came in here and was such a part of what we did and such an outstanding coach."

Wilks oversaw the Chargers secondary from 2009-11. Chudzinski worked with the San Diego tight ends in 2005-06 and again from 2009-10.

Additionally, Chargers secondary coach Ron Meeks coached in Carolina from 2009-11.

But that's not all.

"Then you add to it that my son (offensive quality control coach Scott Turner) is on the staff, it goes pretty deep," Turner said. "But it is a game and when you start putting the tape on, there's things that I recognize and there's things that they're doing differently, and we've got to get our guys ready to go play."

All of the coaching ties add to the excitement leading up to Sunday, and Rivera said he's eager to prove himself against his former team.

"Believe me, I want to win this game, just like I want to win when we play Chicago. I want to win any game we play, but these games are the fun ones," Rivera said. "It's like playing against an older brother, somebody that mentored you.

"You want to show them I've gotten better and I've learned."

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