Rivera ready for rookie debut

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Some time on the football field against another team can't come fast enough for the Panthers.

Head coach Ron Rivera just hopes his young players will be able to handle the speed of play.

"Right now, you see some guys who should be playing fast not playing as fast as they need to because they're not quite sure," Rivera said after the Panthers' final practice before Thursday's preseason opener at the Baltimore Ravens. "The biggest thing they can do right now is get their heads in the books and know what they have to do. That way they can play fast."

Overall, Rivera has been pleased with how the rookie class has performed so far at training camp, but he's seen some slippage as the "dog days" drag on.

"They're making a lot of mistakes out there," Rivera said. "They're messing up their alignments, messing up their assignments, and we can't have that. It's too inconsistent right now."

But a couple of days of recovery before the excitement of taking on an opponent could be just what the doctor ordered.

"We want to see them perform," Rivera said.

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