SAN JOSE- According to the pool report, by Matt Maiocco, the Carolina Panthers appeared 'loose and confident' on Saturday as the team went through their final preparations before Super Bowl 50.
The final walkthrough was less than an hour as the first team offense and defense worked on seperate fields against the scout team. The focus today according to Ron Rivera was "on situational football, including down-and-distance possibilities, the opening drive, and concluding their on-field work with a two-minute drill."
“I told the guys this morning, ‘Once we get done with the walk-through, the hay’s in the barn, let’s close the door and get ready to go.’ And I thought the guys responded very nicely,” Rivera said.
After the practice though, the team boarded the buses and headed to Levi Stadium, which is the site of Super Bowl 50. This gave the players an opportunity to walk in the locker rooms as well as walk around on the field less than 48 hours before the big game.
“I wanted to come here so the guys at least get to see what it’s like,” Rivera said of Levi’s Stadium. “I’d hate to imagine what they would’ve done if they first walked out – kind of like they’re doing right now – on the day of the game.”
While at the stadium, the team did the formal team photos however Cam Newton wanted to make sure to get a few extra as he yelled out instructions for a few poses, including the signature pose, the dab.
“Big games don’t seem to bother him,” Rivera said of his star quarterback. “He’s played in several of them. He played in the junior college national championship. He played in the NCAA championship and won the Heisman. So I think big games, big scenarios don’t seem to bother him. He seems to be who he is. He’s kept his personality. That’s been one of the messages I’ve had with these guys. Keep your personality, keep your energy level up and stay focused.”
While this week is filled with plenty of distractions and certainly extra media attention, at the end of the day this week's primary focus should be about preparation for the game. On Saturday, Ron Rivera said this week went very well for the Panthers.
“I just feel really good about it,” he said. “I think we have a great group of young men who have really earned this opportunity and, hopefully, we’ll understand what it means and take advantage of it.”