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Rivera's remarks: "Unofficial" depth chart


Comments from Carolina Panthers Head Coach Ron Rivera.

On the depth chart: Unofficial depth chart. Let's make sure we get that clear. It's an unofficial depth chart. It's the one that we started with, and we've kept it. We've obviously had to add some players and move players around because of injuries, but we have not sat down and solidified what we're doing for the first preseason game. Last night we talked about it. We talked about looking at the different possibilities in terms of groups of guys that will play. One thing you don't want to do is expose any of our quarterbacks to a situation where they're in there with a bunch of young offensive linemen. So we're trying to make sure when we go through this and set this plan up that we have our quarterbacks in position to be protected.

On if the team is where he thought it would be at this point in training camp: In terms of what we want them to do and understanding the way we need things done - the tempo we want to practice with, the sense of urgency we want to have, protecting the football, not jumping offside, not making little mistakes, stuff like that - yes, they've exceeded my expectations as far as that's concerned. Where we need to be in terms of the X's and O's, it's a work in progress. It really is. Going back to the fact that we've had now 11 practices and seven or eight walkthroughs, we are a work in progress.

On safety Jordan Pugh and getting him on the field: You've got to sit there and find a way to play him though. There are some things that we can do with packages specifically designed to have all three guys (Charles Godfrey, Sherrod Martin and Pugh) on the field at the same time. But he adds a little dimension to us - he gives us an extra guy. If we get in a situation or a set of circumstances, we feel good about playing him, and it doesn't matter which side we play him. The other thing that is a huge benefit for us is his cover ability in terms of being able to cover wide receivers. We can most certainly look to find a spot to put him on the field.

On if Pugh is more of a free or strong safety: I look at him as a safety. In this system the safeties can be interchangeable, so we're not really concerned with if he's a strong or he's a free. Now, there are some things you'll do more with a Godfrey than you would with a Pugh.

On making sure players get the reps they need while also being careful to avoid injuries: The biggest thing that we've tried to take advantage of have been these walkthrough periods. One of the things that you can do with these walkthrough periods is guys that have certain injuries can still get involved. Then when we get on the practice field in pads, they won't be involved. So at least every day, guys are still getting opportunities to get reps. One thing we have done too because of the heat, we've added an extra install period. So we slow everything down. Guys that are injured can get involved in the walkthrough period during the install. So it's still a chance for us to make sure everybody is getting reps. We've tried to find ways to continue to coach.

On if he is eager to see defensive end Greg Hardy practice: Absolutely. Are you kidding? I'm disappointed he got hurt. He was coming back to Charlotte. It was an unfortunate accident and an unfortunate mistake. But until he's on the field, we really won't get a chance to see him. Now, I've watched tape. There is great tape on the kid. I'm excited about what I saw on tape. What I am excited to see is how he will help impact our defense. The things that we do with our guys in this style of defense can play very well to our defensive ends.

On if Hardy will be able to play in the last couple preseason games: We'll see. The timeframe is how well he heals, and he's been healing very well. When (head athletic trainer) Ryan (Vermillion) gives us the O.K. and gives him the O.K., we'll have him back on the field.

On what defensive end Everette Brown needs to do to be consistent: It's just a learning process in the way to practice, way to perform. He's a young guy, too. We've got some young players. This is a young football team, so I'm interested to see how they develop as a team. I think when these guys learn how to practice, learn how to play, you'll see certain guys advance. The thing that I like about Everette is he's got great pass rush ability, got good skill, good athletic ability. He can help in certain situations and packages.

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