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Carolina Panthers

Rivera's remarks: First practice


Comments from Carolina Panthers Head Coach Ron Rivera following the team's training camp practice.

On the Panthers' first practice: I was thrilled. I was very pleased with what happened today. We had an early morning workout today, and it kind of gave us an opportunity to go through the motions of how we needed to practice. I was pleased with the tempo. We did some good things, a little bit better than we did this morning. So I think it's a positive in the right direction, but we've got a long way to go.

On the competition at quarterback and how it will benefit the team: I think it's a good competition and it's going to benefit us because of the fact that these guys have got to push one another. As I told these guys, we're going to play the guys that are ready to play. And that's the bottom line for all of our positions. Guys that are ready to play, that know how to play - they will play.

On if he had an opportunity to watch rookie quarterback Cam Newton: Yes we did. I had an opportunity to stand back. It's a little different, I'm watching the offensive side a little bit more. But it was good to watch the quarterbacks. I thought they (Newton and Jimmy Clausen) both had their moments and I thought they both made mistakes that most certainly need correcting. But, again, it was good to watch these guys work and compete. It was also good to watch some of our other players stand out and do some good things for us.

On if it was just good to watch any football after the last few months: Yeah, it was. It really was a good opportunity for us to watch our guys. And that's the biggest thing right now - we're trying to learn our guys, our guys are trying to learn us. Hopefully, we can develop confidence in one another and we can take steps as a team as we go forward toward this regular season.

On if it looks like things have started to click a little bit more for Newton: I think so. I think he exceeded our expectations. You never really know what you're going to get. But the thing I've got to take my hat off to is everything I've heard is that his work ethic this offseason, Jimmy's work ethic this offseason has paid dividends for us so far as a football team. They've both come in and done a great job. I'm excited about them. I'm excited for our guys.

On how tight end Greg Olsen helps the team: What it does is it gives us options with our tight end. The tight end is a big part of what we do offensively. Coach (Rob) Chudzinski is a disciple of (San Diego Chargers head coach) Norv Turner, who knows how to use and exploit the matchups with tight ends. That's what Greg Olsen does for us. It gives us another weapon to use offensively, it takes some pressure off our receivers and also helps our running backs.

On the atmosphere at practice in Gibbs Stadium: I think it was great. It was great to have our fans out and cheering us on. There was a little excitement from what I understand. I was busy watching inside run and I guess over on the one-on-ones (there were) a couple of big plays for our guys. So I was excited for that. It was great to feel the energy, electricity, and that's what we need. We need to get back to some positive football. We've got to give our fans a reason to cheer, so I was real excited about that.

On if it is tough going through these workouts without some of the Panthers' key players, who cannot practice until August 4: It is tough in one respect. In the other respect it's good, because our young guys get a little bit more opportunity to practice and that's important. The young guys need to take advantage of this and show what they can do while the other guys are waiting to get on the football field. So as far as I'm concerned, it's an opportunity to watch another group of guys perform. It gives them a chance to develop. But I am anxious because there are several key players that are sitting there waiting for their opportunity to come out on the football field. So once that time comes I think it will be even better for us.

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