Rivera Says Struggling Panthers Lack Consistency

CHARLOTTE – Coach Ron Rivera says the Panthers need to start playing more consistent football before it’s too late.

The Panthers are 1-3 for the third straight year under Rivera and run the risk of falling out of playoff contention early just as they did the last two seasons when they started 1-5 and 1-6.

Cam Newton turned the ball over four times, was sacked seven times and the Panthers committed 11 penalties in a sloppy 22-6 loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.

That defeat came just two weeks after a lopsided 38-0 win over the New York Giants.

Rivera says the lack of consistency in the first quarter of the season has been “frustrating” and “I really don’t believe we’re a 1-3 football team.”

Carolina plays at Minnesota on Sunday.


Rivera Looking For New Ways To Use LB Beason

AP Photo/Bob Leverone

CHARLOTTE – Now that Jon Beason is back on the practice field with the Panthers, Ron Rivera says the coaching staff is exploring creative ways to use the three-time Pro Bowl linebacker.

Beason practiced Monday for the second straight day, a positive sign for the six-year NFL veteran who is coming off microfracture surgery on his right knee and has been limited to only five games the past two seasons.

Carolina had concerns about how Beason’s knee would respond after his first padded practice on Sunday, but Beason says he “feels good” and didn’t experience any swelling in his knee.

Rivera says Beason will start at weakside linebacker in the base defense, but he’ll be looking for other ways to get him on the field in certain packages.


Panthers Lose OT Campbell to Torn Rotator Cuff

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SPARTANBURG, S.C. (AP) – Panthers coach Ron Rivera says backup offensive tackle Bruce Campbell will need surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff in his left shoulder.

Rivera said after Monday’s practice that the team hasn’t made a decision on if they’ll place Campbell on injured reserve.

The 25-year-old Campbell suffered the injury in Carolina’s preseason win over the Chicago Bears on Friday night.

The Panthers had planned on Campbell being the team’s backup right tackle again this season. Rivera said the three-year NFL veteran was playing well in training camp.

It’s unclear at this point if the Panthers will look to bring in a free agent tackle to replace Campbell.

In addition, Rivera says rookie guard Edmund Kugbila (hamstring) suffered a minor setback during Sunday’s practice and could miss another week of action.


Panthers Emphasizing Wrapping Up, Not Taking Down

SPARTANBURG, SC – Tackling is becoming a thing of the past at Panthers training camp.

In an effort to avoid unnecessary injuries as a result of contact, Carolina – like many teams around the NFL – emphasizes form tackling during team drills with defenders “wrapping up” ball carriers, but not taking them down to the ground.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera says that’s a big change from when he played linebacker 25 years ago for the Chicago Bears when two-a-day practices and all-out tackling were the norm.

Rivera says the approach to tackling has “changed a lot” out of necessity.

Rivera now oversees practices where players get yelled at by coaches if they take an offensive player to the ground except during “live drills” to help avoid injuries.