As Panthers quarterback Cam Newton met with the media to provide more thoughtful and complete responses to reporters, some of his teammates were providing background noise via a three-word mantra: “We love Cam!”
Coach Ron Rivera was pleased to hear about the display.
“This was a very special group of young men that came together,” Rivera told reporters. “I hope we can carry that forward into the 2016 season and everybody remain focused on what the task is. I think that’s one of the things as I said earlier, we know who Cam is. We understand who the young man is and who he wants to be for us. And that’s more important to us. He’s really committed himself to being our franchise quarterback.
“The things that he does, you guys don’t see. You guys don’t get an opportunity to talk about the early mornings or the late afternoons, coming in on Tuesday on his own time and helping to come upstairs and sit down with Coach Shula and the other coaches and talk about what he likes in our game plan, what he sees, what he’s already seen on a Tuesday. Most players haven’t even looked at the opponent until Wednesday morning. So those are the things that his teammates appreciate. . . . I’m proud of the fact that they’re willing to stand up for him.”
Rivera also should be relieved a bit, because the gesture shows that, as Rivera embarks on an offseason that will consist of rebuilding Newton’s confidence, Rivera apparently won’t have to contend with a locker-room schism regarding the way Newton handled himself after the game and/or regarding his failure to dive on a key fumble late in the game.