Ron Rivera is trying to instill some mental toughness in his team as a means for the Carolina Panthers to learn from last year’s playoff ouster against the San Francisco 49ers when they lost their composure.
After committing six personal fouls in Saturday’s preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Rivera referenced the loss to the 49ers in the second round of the NFC Playoffs when three personal fouls proved costly.
Rivera pulled cornerback Josh Norman after he got into a trash-talking exchange with with Chiefs receiver Dwayne Bowe and was visibly upset when first round pick, receiver Kelvin Benjamin, drew a flag for head-butting cornerback Chris Owens.
“What we want guys to understand is that we have to maintain our composure on the football field. That’s why we lost in the playoffs. It started with me. I made the mistake of getting caught up in that emotion. We have to learn how to control that,” Rivera said, according to ESPN.com.
“If we’re going to be a playoff team, we’ve got to do those things the right way and we’ve got to be able to handle it. When we see it, we pull guys to the side and try to get that corrected. We’re not going to play that way. We’re going to play smart football.”
The Panthers have some young players playing big roles on the defending NFC South champions and they can make dumb mistakes, but Rivera is hopeful addressing these mistakes early in the preseason will limit the mistakes when it really matters.