More for Moore
Ron Rivera hears you.
Well, maybe he's not reading his Twitter mentions filled with fans asking for more of DJ Moore, but Rivera understands the Panthers need to give their first-round pick an uptick in chances.
"I think we've got to put more on his plate," Rivera said Monday. "Just looking at some of the things that we've done, things that we've done in practice, I think that we can stress him more and ask more of him."
In Atlanta, Moore played just 17 snaps on offense. That's the same number he saw against Dallas in Week 1. But Moore provided the day's biggest play when he turned his first NFL reception – a 20-yard pass from Cam Newton – into a 51-yard touchdown that helped give the Panthers at least a chance to pull off a late comeback.
One of the reasons the Panthers have brought Moore along slowly is they've asked him to learn all three wide receiver spots. He's also playing a lot of special teams. Between handling kickoff and punt returns and playing gunner on punts, Moore actually played more on special teams (19 snaps) than he did on offense Sunday.
"That is one of the factors that's probably taken away from some of his opportunities on offense," Rivera said. "When you lose the guys that you've lost whether it be Damiere (Byrd) or Curtis (Samuel), the fallback is to have DJ do more."
But now it's time for Moore on offense.
"He's earning opportunities," Rivera said, "and I think those opportunities will continue to grow for him."
Report: No suspension for cheap shot
The Panthers left Atlanta with a loss, but it could've been so much worse. Fortunately for Carolina and Newton, he bounced right back after taking a “malicious” hit from safety Damontae Kazee in the second quarter.
It was precisely the kind of thing the league says it wants to eradicate. And Kazee was ejected.
"It's sending a message to the players that, again, shots to the head of other players are not going to be tolerated," Rivera said.
"It's all part of the game and it's got to be taken out of the game. It can't be accepted."
But according to a report from Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, Kazee won't be suspended.
"The hard part is when you start asking people to start judging intent, what the intent is, you can get it wrong. That wouldn't be fair, either," Rivera said. "Whatever they decide for the rest of the discipline, that's up to the league."
When you don't allow a 100-yard rusher in an NFL-best 21 games, what happened Sunday was likely an aberration. That doesn't mean it can't eventually turn into a problem.
"It was a little bit of physical nature, a little bit of mental nature," Rivera said of a run defense that gave up 170 yards, the most for a Carolina coached team since Seattle racked up 240 in December of 2016. "A couple times not knowing how to fit or where to fit and a couple times playing behind, playing a little lazy. We can't accept that and we won't tolerate that."
Lazy is not a word you hear often from Rivera. Nor was "terrible," which he used immediately after the game.
"I was disappointed last night as you could tell by my tone," Rivera said. "Again, we have a standard. This standard has been here since Sean McDermott was here with us, Steve Wilks was here with us and now Eric Washington and we're not going to tolerate it."
View game photos from the Panthers loss to the Falcons by team photographer Melissa Melvin-Rodriguez.