Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera doesn’t typically lays into his players.
So when he does it, he hopes it sticks.
That rarity happened Monday morning when Rivera expressed his contempt for the effort, tempo and overall football knowledge of the third-team offense and defense.
Rivera brought all the players on the field together for a huddle and barked at them for a few minutes when the third teamers should have been finishing the 2-minute drill.
His message was that this lackadaisical play wouldn’t fly Thursday in Baltimore in Carolina’s first exhibition.
“We missed a couple of alignments early on and more so than anything that really bothered me,” a calmer Rivera said after practice. “Mostly the young guys. And that’s even more troublesome because they’re going to be the ones who get the bulk of the work. And so I wanted to make sure that they understood, hey guys, that’s not good enough. You are going to come out and not know where to line up. And I wasn’t going to have it.”
Rivera was especially displeased that the play came a day after the Panthers had a relatively lighter practice. He expected his players to come out of that easier day with more intensity.
It wasn’t a coincidence he stopped the third-teamers, either. They’ll be playing the majority of the exhibition.
“We want to make sure we give our guys an opportunity to play fast,” Rivera said. “The game plans won’t be expansive. We’re going to try to give them three good days of Baltimore (in practice) and what they do, because we want to see these young guys perform. We have some decisions to make as far as who’s going to make this football team. We’ve got some young guys that need the reps.”