Mac Attack 05/01/12: Panthers Head Coach Ron Rivera joined Mac to discuss the NFL Draft, concerns about the d-line, and much more about the off season.
Ron Rivera felt like the Carolina Panthers defensive line finished strong in the last games of the 2011-12 season, in which some are coming back from injuries and some started mid-season and played really well. Losing Thomas Davis and Jon Beason hurt the team, but it took a few games before the new defensive guys settled to their positions.
Rivera thinks that Jon Beason can play any position for the Carolina Panthers and have about three weeks to study his moves. Beason is a “smart playmaker,” and it will take experience and development to see where the linebackers will set up this season.
Rivera spent 90 minutes this week with the new and old members of the team seeing them warm up and set up for football plays.
When picking Amini Silatolu from Division II in the Second Round, Rivera thinks that “he can come in here and compete right away and not be a project” He wants Amini to contribute to the team and start playing and rotating in the regular rotation.
Coach Rivera thinks that they can make it to the playoffs. The Carolina Panthers had 78 players on their team last year due to injuries (the max the NFL allows is 80). Rivera’s goal is to get there (the playoffs) and win. And, with the new players last year having experience playing, they feel as if they will only continue to get stronger this season.
In regards to defensive tackle in the NFL Draft, Rivera says that Coples was high on their list to draft if the board fell that way.