Carolina Panthers

Carolina Panthers defense chastised for poor effort by Ron Rivera

Carolina Panthers tackle Michael Oher (73) and defensive end Kony Ealy (94) face off during a blocking drill on Monday. Head coach Ron Rivera and defensive coordinator Sean McDermott chastised the defense for its effort early in practice.
Carolina Panthers tackle Michael Oher (73) and defensive end Kony Ealy (94) face off during a blocking drill on Monday. Head coach Ron Rivera and defensive coordinator Sean McDermott chastised the defense for its effort early in practice. dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com

Before the scuffle that became the news of the day, Carolina Panthers coaches were lamenting a lack of intensity and effort from the defense in early drills Monday.

Head coach Ron Rivera and defensive coordinator Sean McDermott loudly voiced their displeasure with the defense during early drills when both the first- and second-team offenses had their way with the defense.

It began on a zone-read rush by Newton where he faked a handoff to fullback Mike Tolbert and kept it, running around the left defensive end Kony Ealy and into the second level of the defense.

It continued as the offensive line won battles against the defensive line and both Newton and backup quarterback Derek Anderson completed nearly every pass.

Anderson even found undrafted rookie tight end Jamie Childers in a soft spot in the defense behind Jason Trusnik for a big gain.

“This is not the show team!” Rivera shouted at the defense, referring to a dummy defense used during practices to simulate that week’s opponent.

Rivera wanted to see more out of his defense in what he called the final big practice before Friday’s exhibition against the Buffalo Bills.

“I came in and one of the things I talked to them about was this is going to be our only real, true day to get some good work in terms of a thud,” Rivera said after practice. “Up-tempo, a big thud, getting ready to wrap up and tackle. Because the one thing that you don’t want to do is show up on game day and not be ready for it. And it was real disappointing in the first period.

“I expressed to those guys that Buffalo doesn’t care how you feel or what you think. They’re coming to play and coming in to set a tempo and we better be ready for it.”

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