When Ron Rivera stepped to the podium Thursday morning to address media at the NFL Scouting Combine, he knew certain questions were coming; namely regarding Cam Newton and Greg Olsen. After Newton underwent his second shoulder surgery in two years, whispers of how long a full recovery will take have been circulating amongst the Carolina faithful as well as national media.
Rivera disclosed that the Panthers head athletic trainer Ryan Vermillion has informed the team that everything is progressing very well, Newton has been going through his rehab sessions, and that everything has been positive. While the possibility that Newton will miss the entire next season to fully recover has been floated around, Rivera has not committed to the idea. In fact, Rivera has been clear that Newton is QB1 and will remain QB1.
It’s evident that the Panthers are riding with their QB but in the event that Newton has to miss any part of the upcoming season, they have to have a viable backup that can maintain offensive productivity. Therefore, it is not surprising that Rivera revealed that the team had looked to draft a quarterback in the last couple of years.
“I know the last few years, we have looked at taking a quarterback. Couple times, the guy that we liked got taken before we got a chance to (draft him). And the only reason you do it obviously is to increase your depth. We like who we have at our depth positions right now. We think both those guys (Taylor Heinicke and Kyle Allen) came in and played well, showed us that they are more than capable back ups. And again, we’re really pleased with Cam’s progress so far this offseason based on the reports I’m getting from Ryan Vermillion.”
After the departures of vets Ryan Kalil, Julius Peppers, and Thomas Davis, the status of tight end Greg Olsen has fans concerned as well. Those concerns were exacerbated by reports regarding Olsen’s foray into television. Following two seasons cut short by foot injuries, Olsen has gotten rave reviews as he dabbled with an analyst role a few times. Andrew Marchand of the New York Post reported on Wednesday that Olsen had been offered analyst positions by both ESPN and FOX. Olsen is still under contract for two more seasons and Rivera stated that he has spoken with Olsen and that Olsen told him that he wants to continue playing football.