It’s not like this game needed any additional storylines. The Panthers are 1-3 and their mission headed into Sunday is clear; win or don’t count on making the playoffs. It’s that simple.
Though, when Panthers head coach Ron Rivera acknowledged to the media earlier in the week that the Panthers were in fact interested in former North Carolina State University and University of Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson, things must have gotten awkward.
“Yes, he [Wilson] was somebody that we looked at,” Rivera said. “He got picked where we thought he would. We thought he would get picked in the first few rounds. We did like him.”
Wilson was selected in the third round as the 75th pick by the Seahawks in April’s NFL Draft.
One can’t help but wonder if Rivera’s statement was meant more as a motivational tool in order to light a fire under his own quarterback, Cam Newton.
Coaches do funny things. Looking back, there was absolutely no reason for the Panthers to even be considering drafting another quarterback in 2012. First of all, they didn’t even own a third round draft pick, so they would have had to make a move to land Wilson in the third round; if that’s really where they thought he would end up.
It’s also worth pointing out that in 2010 Carolina drafted Jimmy Clausen to be a possible future starter at the position, plus they already had veteran Derek Anderson on their quarterback depth chart for 2012. So with Newton, Clausen, and Anderson on board, adding a quarterback wouldn’t have made sense, much less a quarterback with similar skills to that of Newton.
The Panthers didn’t end up taking Wilson, they never even came close, but Rivera’s statement about the team’s interest in Wilson begs a larger question.
Did Rivera use his words to try and get Newton focused on torching the Seahawks this upcoming Sunday?
Looking at where the Panthers stood in April, it seems like a safe assumption.
Robert Kester, Carolina Panthers Columnist. Contact @robertkester1.