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Ron Rivera knows Panthers are looking for leadership

Ron Rivera AP

Panthers coach Ron Rivera understands the flaws on his team. But if there was ever any question, the firing of general manager Marty Hurney on Monday brought them into focus.

Rivera, during an interview on WFNZ’s The Drive, said he told his players succinctly that a message was sent.

“He took responsibility,” Rivera said of Hurney. “Now we have to stand up and take responsibility for ourselves.”

As Hurney was leaving, he talked about the void of leadership in the locker room, that he regretted not drafting a Ray Lewis type to take charge.

“Some people have to find who they follow, and some people have to find who their leader is,” Rivera said. “Those leaders have to realize they are leaders and step up.

I don’t know if there’s enough of the type of leaders we need in this locker room, but it’s something we’ve been working on.”

Whether the Panthers recover from their current state sooner, later or ever will largely depend on the two players who are expected to grow into those roles — quarterback Cam Newton and middle linebacker Luke Kuechly. They are in natural positions to do so, and must grow into it quickly.

Rivera himself has been questioned locally, partly because fans are suckers for guys who jump around and yell, and he’s a stoic presence.

“You know it’s funny,” Rivera said. “Because you look at certain things, and people say ‘look how ridiculous he looks, he losing his mind.  He screaming at people.  He’s cussing.  He’s throwing things around, . . .’  I mean, if we win those football games, people would say ‘Oh boy, it looks like he’s in control. . .’

“So take everything with a grain of salt.  There’s some things that I need to do different, most definitely. I get that part of it. If we are going be trending up, then I need to do some things differently, as well.  Not just me, but my coaches and my players.”

Rivera also described his meetings Monday with owner Jerry Richardson, and how they talked about the expectations on the team the rest of this season.

“The bottom line is, things have to change,” Rivera said.

If they don’t, Rivera’s address will.

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12 Responses to “Ron Rivera knows Panthers are looking for leadership”
  1. dallascowboysdishingthereal says: Oct 27, 2012 12:22 PM

    I really don’t see an issue with Rivera’s low key demeanor. It’s the fact that they aren’t winning that is the issue.

    It’s more about how the Panthers defense has progressed slowly under Rivera that should be more concerning since he is a defensive coach. Tackling is still suspect and assignments are blown regularly in the secondary. Also inconsistent pressure on QB.

  2. saberstud75 says: Oct 27, 2012 12:25 PM

    Cam needs to do less commercials and more leading.

  3. CKL says: Oct 27, 2012 12:26 PM

    He’s right that you don’t have to cuss and jump around. There are leaders with different styles who are effective in their own ways. I think it’s good to have a few different types of leaders on a team. My team has Jerod Mayo who is a quiet dude, but who leads by example. They have Brady who cusses and jumps around(LOL) along with being a machine of a worker. They have Vince Wilfork who leads both ways. Etc etc. The common theme to all leaders is accountability and work ethic. That said, I believe leaders are born, not made. So if they don’t have any take charge type leaders now, they won’t.

  4. illinininer says: Oct 27, 2012 12:35 PM

    I don’t follow the Panthers much, but from an outsiders’ perspective it looks to me like Richardson is the problem. The way he went on a spending spree after the lockout and overpaid for average or injury prone players just looked like a pathetic attempt to save his image after being the face of owner greed during the CBA negotiations. Firing his GM in the middle of the season just adds to the dysfunction.

  5. illinininer says: Oct 27, 2012 12:44 PM

    I agree that you can’t make someone into a leader, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have players on the team that can develop into that role. Patrick Willis showed little to no leadership qualities his first few years in San Fran, he wouldn’t even call/relay the plays on defense. But after he transitioned from a rookie to a veteran, earned the respect and praise from his teammates, and mastered his role on the field he was able to focus on developing his leadership skills beyond just setting a good example. Sometimes players have to take the time to get themselves where they need to be before they feel comfortable barking at their teammates.

  6. hatesycophants says: Oct 27, 2012 12:58 PM

    They may as well fire this dude today. When your HC is looking for leadership anyplace but a mirror, he has failed. How about you provide the leadership or motivate one of the guys you drafted to be that in the room? Or quit.

  7. CKL says: Oct 27, 2012 1:08 PM

    I don’t disagree, Illini. But besides his skillset, Patrick Willis was known as a college player for his leadership traits. That’s what I meant by born not made. I could see Kuechly stepping into that role for Carolina eventually. It’s really too bad that Beason has been hurt so often because he was that guy on the D.

  8. chi01town says: Oct 27, 2012 2:39 PM

    Ron is a great defensive coordinator
    but everybody is NOT a head coach.
    Lovie fired Ron an now Lovie’s going to get him fired again cause the Bears are going to smoke the panthers.

  9. cshearing says: Oct 27, 2012 2:41 PM

    Rivera does not need to jump and scream, but he does need to lead, and he needs to make decisions that help his team win. I have seen neither, and have no expectations of changes in the future. Seems to be one of those (many) guys that are good-to-great coordinators, but not head coach material.

  10. fumblenuts says: Oct 27, 2012 3:22 PM

    Ron Rivera knows Panthers are looking for leadership?

    Someone call up Bill Cowher…………….

  11. blacknole08 says: Oct 27, 2012 3:38 PM

    You know what — I have faith in my team and think we can right this season and finish .500. Firing Hurney was the first step towards are recovery. Since 2010, we have won only 8 total games — that is worst in the entire NFL.

    Losing Beason and Gamble for the year hurts too, but Keuchly has been playing exceptionally well and I like Josh Norman’s potential.

    And I think Cam is slowly starting to get it. Yes, he has been a crybaby all season, but I think he’s also one of those people who beats themselves up and wears their emotions on their sleeves. He’s not used to losing and this will only fuel his hunger and desire to win. When he is focused, he succeeds. Now if he can cut out all the stupid Superman antics and first down signals, people will start to respect him more.

    When this team is focused, we will succeed.

  12. tarheelpirate says: Oct 27, 2012 9:54 PM

    I don’t need a coach that jumps around and screams; I need a coach that has his team prepared, week after week. Rivera has failed to have his team prepared.

    That said, this team could easily be 4-2. They are not as far off as it seems.

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