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Rivera promises "aggressive" style

New Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera stood at a podium and talked about teaching, and his teachers.

As the fourth coach of the Carolina Panthers at a pivotal moment in the franchise’s history, he’s going to have plenty of chance for instruction.

Rivera was introduced at a press conference Tuesday afternoon and talked about his goals for the first team he’s in charge of, and promised an “attacking” style. 

“I’d like it to be an aggressive, physical football team,” the former Chicago Bears linebacker promised.

During a 30-minute press conference, Rivera referenced mentors such as Chicago coaches Mike Ditka, Buddy Ryan and Dave McGinnis, along with former Dallas coach Jimmy Johnson. 

He talked about sharing their forward styles in terms of defense (emphasizing the Panthers were a 4-3 team), as well as offense. He said he’s going to work with general manager Marty Hurney on putting together a staff quickly, but emphasized that finding balance on offense was going to be central to his challenge.

Rivera, who played nine years in the NFL and has 14 years experience as an assistant coach, understood the hurdles he has with a team that began 2010 as the league’s youngest.

He referred to quarterback Jimmy Clausen being the starter at the moment, but also said they wanted to bring in someone to compete for that job, stressing the role of his offensive coordinator and quarterback coach in that process.

“You assume that right now,” he replied when asked if Clausen was his quarterback. “Until you get that guy to come in and compete.:”

The 49-year-old Rivera had interviewed for nine other head coaching jobs previously, but this is his first time in charge.

Team president Danny Morrison said that during their “whirlwind” recruiting process, Rivera stood out for his energy and enthusiasm.

“He was so well prepared,” Morrison said. “We just felt his fit was great.” 

-- Darin Gantt