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Carolina Panthers

Rivera's remarks: Preseason progress


Comments from Carolina Panthers Head Coach Ron Rivera.

On how much progress the Panthers made during the preseason: For the most part what we could expect to get out of it we've gotten out of it. In some situations I think we got a little bit more out of it. Then in some other situations we didn't get quite what we wanted. The biggest thing was we had an opportunity to find out about certain positions. We feel really strongly about a lot of those positions and a couple of positions are a concern. That's probably the biggest thing we're going to take away from this. We tried to follow the installation that we had planned for this particular training camp, not the training camp if things had been normal. We did the best we could with that. I feel pretty confident about those things that we did. Then from here on out everything is going to be a work in progress.

On if people overlook that quarterback Cam Newton and the Panthers did not have offseason minicamps or OTAs: People will begin to overlook those things once you get further into the season. Right now everybody will look at it and say, "They didn't have this, they didn't have that." But, truthfully, neither did everybody else. I don't want us to use it as a crutch. It's a fact; it's a fact for everybody in the league, too, though.

On how much the starters will play in the final preseason game: We would like to see things obviously function where things are going well; we're communicating; we're doing the things that we're supposed to. That's probably the biggest thing that we want to take from it. I'm not concerned about the outcome obviously; I'm concerned about the way we play more so than anything else. With that first bunch, I want to see good communication, good operations and then get them off the field.

On what positions he is most interested in seeing versus the Pittsburgh Steelers: Our defensive line. With the short, brief time they'll be in, I would like to see the one line work together. Then our young wide receivers. I like what I've seen in camp. Now I'd like to see them in a little bit more extended game situation where they get to play a few more (snaps).

On if defensive end Greg Hardy and tackle Jeff Otah will play: Yes. They'll get their snaps with the first bunches, and then we'll go from there.

On injuries to defensive tackle Andre Neblett and wide receiver Kealoha Pilares: Neblett had the concussion, so because of protocol he won't play. Yesterday, Kealoha sprained his ankle. It's a high sprain. We kept him off of it today. We're a little concerned about it and we'll see how he feels later today and tomorrow morning.

On the Panthers running backs: We feel very good about that group. We think it's a pretty formidable group. We've got a bunch of guys that can carry the ball; we've got guys that understand the passing game; and they're learning our (pass) protections. So that's probably the best thing that we've got going as far as that group. It's a quality group. I do like our top two guys (DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart). If you mix in our younger guys back there, I think we have guys that can step in and make plays.

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