As is often the case in preseason affairs, no NFL head coach is completely content with the entirety of their respective teams’ performances. For Carolina’s Ron Rivera, the Panthers’ first-team offense failing to put up six points off their one and only series was his biggest disappointment in their exhibition opener against the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday night.
“There were some really good things. The biggest disappointment, just like I told you guys that night, was not scoring a touchdown with the first bunch,” Rivera told reporters at Saturday’s training camp practice following the team’s 22-19 loss.
Even despite quarterback Cam Newton seemingly having his way, completing five of his six attempts on the possession, the Panthers’ strong drive was halted on Baltimore’s 7-yard-line after an incomplete pass to Ted Ginn. Newton and Ginn were unable to connect in the back of the end zone, giving way to a 26-yard field goal by kicker Graham Gano.
“We drove down in the red zone and then we missed a couple of blocks on runs,” Rivera then said. “Then Teddy (Ginn) wasn’t the primary receiver and assumed the ball had been thrown. Then Cam (Newton) made the decision to throw to him, and if Teddy had just kept going, it would have been a touchdown.”
The beauty of exhibition play, however, is that there’s plenty of time to iron out kinks. With wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin building up his playing time in his comeback from knee surgery and the unit continuing to revisit their chemistry from a season ago, the touchdown (or touchdowns) will be on the horizon.
So don’t fret, Riverboat. Your offense will reach the end zone, put up 6 and make a little kid in the front row happy with a patented pigskin special delivery.