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Ron Rivera on Cam Newton comments: ‘Not putting anybody on blast’

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Ron Rivera recently provided a brief analysis of Cam Newton’s growth as a quarterback that raised some eyebrows in large part because his thoughts were perceived by some as being overly critical.

But the Carolina Panthers head coach scoffed at the notion that he was ripping the reigning NFL MVP, instead arguing like all players, Newton still can improve as a player.

“I’m not putting anybody on blast, I’m just challenging him that he can become a better football player,” Rivera said, via Bill Voth of Black and Blue Review by way of Pro Football Talk. “I think he’s such a dynamic football player athletically and mentally, that every time he gets out there, he can improve and become better.”

The comments that originally spawned the arguably erroneous theory Rivera was criticizing his superstar quarterback appear more of a challenge — as the Panthers head coach suggested — than overt criticism.

“He’s got an awful lot of room to grow,” Rivera said in part during an interview on ESPN 730 AM earlier this month. “He can really transcend this game in many different ways because of the way the game is played today.”

Rivera added during the interview that Newton “truly is a triple threat now,” a comment that hardly seems like an unflattering critique.

Rivera during his most recent comments discussed how Newton can continue to evolve as a quarterback despite a tremendously successful 2015 campaign where he accounted for 45 Panthers touchdowns.

“Last year we talked about developing certain throws and he did that. Can he develop and get better physically? Yes. I think it’s his skill set. I know they constantly work on his technique, his footwork, his delivery. You work on the mental aspect as well,” Rivera said.

Rivera added he hopes that Newton works on developing a rapport with the Panthers receiving corps.

Newton will enter the 2016 NFL season as one of the most feared quarterbacks in the league due to his unique combination of size, speed, strength and skills. There are certainly several things he can work to improve upon — both on the field and off of it — and Rivera shouldn’t be questioned for pointing it out.