New Panthers owner David Tepper had an impressive first press conference yesterday, where he outlined his vision for his new team, and won points for being Not Jerry Richardson.
But even before he bought the team, he made an impression on coach Ron Rivera.
Rivera met with each of the three finalists to buy the team, giving presentations on the football side, and came away impressed with his new boss.
“During that time he listened and asked questions — and asked good questions concerning personnel and stuff like that,” Rivera said, via Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer. “We didn’t touch the salary cap or anything like that. I just thought it went very well.”
They’ve talked since then, and Rivera said Tepper placed a high premium on discipline and players being involved in the community — a theme he has touched on several times.
“He’s really strong on that, which I thought was outstanding,” Rivera said.
As for the football side, Tepper praised the roster and the coaching staff, and the results have been steady there, with the Panthers making the playoffs four of the last five years. But it’s a veteran team, with some players near the ends of their careers (Julius Peppers, Ryan Kalil, Thomas Davis) and Rivera talked with Tepper about the transition to come.
“The biggest thing for me will be getting an opportunity to sit down and hear his philosophy, his expectations, his directive on certain other things,” Rivera said. “Hopefully it’ll happen next week just before we get ready to go to camp.”
The good news for Rivera is that Tepper’s shown no apparent interest in fiddling with the football operation, leaving that part to the existing staff while he focuses on other changes — including bringing in a top business-side executive and working on stadium improvements and building a new practice facility.