Remember in D2: The Mighty Ducks when Gordon Bombay went from being the fun-loving coach who tied Goldberg to the posts to the slick-back hair, Icelandic-ish coach who became star struck in a pair of coach’s loafers, then back to the guy who quacked his way back into the hearts of his team? Well, Ron Rivera is blowing his duck call, hoping to find a way to get his team motivated, relaxed, and having fun again. It’s a tough task when you're 1-5 and requires a different strategy than swapping out jerseys at the end of the period, which I have to believe was against World Junior Hockey rules. Now I would be OK with them trying to get Joe Thomas off the Browns and swapping jerseys with Mike Remmers like Russ Knuckle Puck Tyler did.
Since I don’t think the NFL will allow any of these motivational strategies, Rivera did what any employer hoping to nourish a positive relationship with their workforce does—give them time off. Rivera announced that the team would practice only two days this week, then take the rest of the bye week off. “I told them I want them to get away from it, don’t read anything, don’t watch anything, don’t listen to anything. Just get yourselves ready to come back focused in and start right back to work the following Monday,” Rivera said.
Carolina heads into the bye week coming off four straight losses. They are 1-5, wounded, and, gauging from Cam Newton’s press conference, not enjoying it. The Dabb’n, the dancing, the selfies, Carolina had fun on Sundays last year. This year, we haven’t seen the same joy.
Rivera, who for the last several years has been a steady leader that understands his players, break out the lasso, the rollerblades, or just a bucket of pucks for these guys. As Hanz encouraged Gordon, “Show them how to play. Show them how to have fun. Teach them to fly!” At this point, the season is more than about winning like Hanz described. It’s about building character forged through adversity.
Since we’re not ducks, we won’t quack. Instead, we roar. Roar. Roar! Roar! Keep Pounding!
By the Professor, aka Tony Dunn
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