The Carolina Panthers have done some digging to get a handle on what to expect from Tampa Bay under offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford, the former Cal coach who has never called a play in the NFL.
Rivera said the Panthers, who face the Buccaneers Sunday in their NFL opener, have studied game tapes from Tedford’s time at Cal, where he became the winningest coach in school history during his 11-year tenure. It shouldn’t have been hard for Rivera to get the skinny: Rivera is a former Cal player.
“We went back and watched a number of those games that he called, and tried to watch him against defenses that were similar to ours, then delve into those things,” Rivera said. “We’ve talked to some of his former players. We tried to dig up as much as we could.”
Panthers safety Thomas DeCoud said the defense also has looked at tape of Chicago, where Bucs coach Lovie Smith spent nine seasons.
Tedford might not be available Sunday after undergoing an unspecified medical procedure a week and a half ago. The Panthers expect quarterbacks coach Marcus Arroyo to call plays if Tedford is out.
“Our offensive staff has picked up the load, and it has been full speed ahead,” Smith said. “We feel very comparable any way we have to go, whether Jeff is able to go this week, which is the preference. But if not, the rest of the guys will pick up the slack.”
Injury update: With Cam Newton as the only player on the injury report, the Panthers remain relatively healthy going into the season opener.
Starting defensive ends Greg Hardy (shoulder) and Charles Johnson (hamstring) took every rep they were supposed to on Wednesday.
Rivera said Hardy looked good in the weight room lifting weights over his head despite the bruised shoulder.
Backup center Brian Folkerts cramped up after practice and had to be given fluids through an IV in the training room.
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