The most notable Carolina Panthers injury discussion over the last week has revolved around linebacker Thomas Davis, but Jared Allen is also worth a note. Allen suffered a broken foot in the NFC divisional round playoffs, costing him the conference championship game. Although that injury can often end a player's season, Ron Rivera seems optimistic that Allen will be able to play in Super Bowl 50.
Rivera spoke with the media on Tuesday, during which he said that Allen looked good in practice on Monday. He said he'll need to be in a good position come Friday, but Rivera "liked the path he's on." He thinks Allen is showing good tempo, and it sounds like he will probably play. Allen might require surgery on the foot after the season, but with only one game remaining, it is no surprise he will try and join Thomas Davis in getting back on the field.
Here is the full transcript of Rivera's Tuesday press conference.
(on the Denver Broncos defense) "Well, you look at what Denver does defensively, I think a lot of it starts up front. They've got some aggressive players. I think their front is solid. They have two terrific outside pass rushers. The thing you have to be concerned with is the guys that are inside as well. They do a nice job penetrating and getting an inside push, taking away the quarterback's ability to step into a throw. I think their linebackers run. They have great vision and run very well. They have defensive backs that are aggressive and I think their strength is probably man coverage."
(on the comparison to the 1985 Chicago Bears) "I think in terms of comparing them, I've always shied away from comparing guys from different eras, but the similarities are there. I think there are guys that are aggressive that play fast and play physical. Back in the day, Mike Singletary, Wilber Marshall, Otis Wilson, those guys played fast and played physical as well. I like our guys too. I think Luke, TD, Shaq are a great combination of guys to have. Tremendous skill set very similar to those guys. They're aggressive guys. They play downhill. They play physical. I've been very fortunate to coach as well. Coaching guys like Brian Urlacher, Jeremiah Trotter, Lance Briggs, Stephen Cooper - just guys that are aggressive, physical guys. It's something special when you get to be around guys like that."
(on the success of veteran players he acquired like Jared Allen and Michael Oher) "I think part of it has to do with what we do and the way we do it. Offensively, one of the things that really played into it - Michael Oher is a little bit of a different type of example. Michael's relationship with John Matsko, our offensive line coach, he really developed a fast relationship around Ray Brown. I think the dynamics between those two coaches and Michael is very strong. I think that's part of why. I also think the guys in our locker room accept the guys that come in, very quickly. There's no, ‘He's the new guy. All of a sudden he's not going to fit.' Again, a great example is when we brought in Cortland Finnegan in the middle the year and the first guy to take him to dinner was Luke Kuechly. When the guys come into those locker rooms, into our locker room downstairs, they're accepted quickly and I think our guys see the value of bringing players in and trying to get them assimilated very quickly. It's not just in the locker room but it's on the playing field. I think what's important is the guys in the locker room have taken the ownership of wanting to get these guys into the fold very quickly."
(on the continuity between him, Offensive Coordinator Mike Shula and quarterback Cam Newton) "I think it's very huge. You can also throw (Quarterbacks Coach) Ken Dorsey into that mix as well. All of us have really grown together for a period of time. I think that's been huge in terms of his development, his growth, because of the familiarity. I think knowing the person a little bit more intimately is important. You can't really develop that kind of relationship of trust until you've been around each other for a while. I think that's been a big part of his growth. He has three guys that have been around him that he can fall back to whatever the situation. He can rely on us and come to us with those questions and not just football questions, but life questions. It's kind of neat because he's recently become a father and it's been interesting that he's been able to talk to all three of us, having been fathers at one point or another, about his growth as a person."
(on the development of safety Kurt Coleman) "I think part of it is about opportunity. The nice thing with him coming to us, he has some familiarity with who (Defensive Coordinator) Sean McDermott is. Back to the earlier question, part of it is bringing in veteran guys. We look for guys that fit our speed, our system. Kurt is a great example. He's a guy that fits our system."
(on the impact of the decision he made to sit defensive end Jared Allen last week) "Making the decision on Jared, I made it early because I felt the guys that were going to get the opportunity to play needed to know that they were going to play and they needed to focus. I thought they did a nice job. Coming into this game having a veteran guy up there, that other guys are comfortable with, is going to pay dividends. I think having the extra week off is huge. As much as he didn't want to admit it, he and I have talked about it, what the benefit of having those extra four, five, six days off have meant to his foot. He's practiced very well. He practiced on Monday and looked good. He'll get an opportunity to show that he's ready to roll. Come Friday, it's going to be very important but I liked the path he's on. I like the hard work he's put in. I like the tempo he has practiced with. So that's been a big plus."
(on if he was ready to be a head coach in 2006 when he interviewed with the Rams in 2006) "Well back then, I thought I was ready. In retrospect, when you look back at it, I've grown a lot. I've grown a lot on this job so I might not have been ready looking at it now, from this perspective. Back then, I thought I was. I thought the interview process was good. I thought it was very fair. I liked the opportunity they gave me. At the end of the day, they decided to go with an offensive coach. It was their decision because at the time they felt they wanted to emulate what they had with the greatest show on turf. That was an explosive offense and again, I really appreciated that opportunity. In hindsight, I might not have been ready for that."
(on Thomas Davis and his arm injury) "I thought Thomas looked really good in practice. He used that hand, that arm, and one of the concerns with it really is just what would happen if he had to deliver a blow. He uses it to deliver a shot. He seemed to weather that yesterday very nicely. Today, he came in and got his normal set of treatment like he gets in the morning. He'll probably come back in the early to mid-afternoon, get a little treatment. Then he'll probably come back later on in the evening, sometime around six or so and get another dose of treatment. He seems to be responding very nicely to it. He looks good and again, I won't doubt Thomas."
(on using San Jose State's facilities) "I really appreciate what we've got as far as San Jose State is concerned. The league came in and helped them with their field and getting it ready. I think they've done a terrific job. I think their facilities are really nice. I really do. The weight room is huge. We were able to get the whole team in and get them to go through a lifting workout after the practice. I thought that part was good. The locker room seems to be spacious. Our guys really appreciated using it. Then the facilities they gave us, as far as the coaches, is nice. I went in and talked to their head coach. He was gracious and I wanted to make sure he knew we appreciated coming in and using their facility, coming to find out two of my former college coaches are both there now. I talked with them. Really appreciated that."
(on the value of his team captains) "They've been very valuable and I really do appreciate them because of their willingness to take ownership and aiming stuff to the forefront. One of the nice things that they've done is situations like this, when I have questions to them or they've got comments to me. They've been very upfront and honest about their responses. I think that's invaluable because to me they're willing to take ownership. They're willing to take leadership and stuff out. It makes it a lot easier on me as far as that's concerned."
(on balancing his team's relaxed mentality and confidence) "For the most part, it's about asking them to keep their personality. Don't be more. Don't be less. By that, what I mean is, don't shy away from the opportunities, but at the same timer let's not go beyond that. They've been really good about that and there is that fine line. Again, it's not just about me shepherding them as much as it's been their captains. Although, one of our captains is pretty loose, he's really taking to it and enjoying the moment. As I said earlier when talking to these guys, beware your feet. So when it comes time to work, when it comes time to be in meetings, it comes time to be on the practice field - so far, they've all done exactly what we've asked of them. I think that's very valuable to us."
(on Cam Newton's personality growing on the other Carolina players) "I think he - not only does he talk it, but he walks it. He's one of those guys that's all in and he's truly committed. A lot of people don't see the things he does behind the scenes: the workouts, the extra film time, the extra meeting time, coming in on Tuesday on his day off to sit down with the other two quarterbacks and go through what they're seeing on tape and talking about things that might work. Then he goes upstairs and takes it to Mike Shula, Kenny Dorsey and the other offensive coaches when they're game planning and say, ‘Hey look, these are the things that I see. These are the things that I think might help.' Then the coaches ask, ‘What do you like? What do you want to put in?' I think that's been great and I think that his teammates know that he's willing to make those kind of commitments on his day off. When you see a guy that's willing to do things on his day off, on his own, I think that just signifies that there's a commitment. It's like the same thing with some of the guys that want to play when they're injured."