Ron Rivera isn’t mad at Panthers for firing him, but doesn’t know how much Cam Newton has left


I think I’ve always liked the humanity of Ron Rivera, back to the time the night before a Bears-Packers game in Wisconsin, Rivera and two Bear defensive mates agreed to have dinner with me to talk about their team and the game. Dinner, on the night before the game in Appleton, Wisc., lasted two hours. A few highlights from my conversation this week with the fired Carolina coach:

• Speaking of the human side, he started by telling me his Golden Retriever demolished the stuffed Panthers mascot, Sir Purr, the day he got fired by owner David Tepper. “For whatever reason, we have a Sir Purr stuffed animal that Tahoe tore up,” Rivera said, laughing. “I kid you not. I walked outside, there’s all the stuffing. I saw the head of Sir Purr on one side, the body on the other and I said, ‘What the heck?’ Tahoe would not have been imitating his master, because Rivera is not bitter at the team or Tepper.

• “I’m doing good,” he said. “I give Mr. Tepper credit for explaining why he did it and why he was doing it now—wanting to get started on the process and knowing he was going to make a change. He was very forthright. If owners explained it to coaches that way, I think people can go away with their head up. That’s how I felt. At the same time, he didn’t want me dangling in the wind, with it being reported every week that ‘He’s on the hot seat.’ … When you’re in this league long enough and you see things, I’d much rather go out with my head up and my dignity intact. The ego in me says give me that one more season. I got one more year left on my contract. Give me that year. And then there’s a certain point where you say, you know what? Let’s move on.”

Regarding Cam Newton, I wondered if it would be hard for either the Panthers to commit $21 million to him next year, not knowing exactly where he’d be physically, or whether Rivera would want to take Newton with him if he got another NFL job. I said I didn’t know how to resolve the Newton issue because I didn’t know what kind of player Newton would be in 2020, and how healthy he’d be. “Nobody does,” Rivera said. “When you look at our team analytically, when Cam was Cam, for seven years, we were the number one goal-line offense. We were the number one fourth-and-one team. Because we had this guy who had this specific skill set. I just believe that if he gets healthy with some of the things that he’s done, he can be pretty impactful. But as you said, he’s property of the Panthers and he’s got a big number.”

• I asked him the lessons he’d learned in nine seasons as a head coach. “The first thing is understanding what it takes to get the team on the rise. Then I think I understand a little bit better just how important it is to make sure the picks that you have, the core players you have, that you are able to get those guys taken care of, keeping those guys. At the same time, knowing—I’ve tried to pay attention to what Bill Belichick has done, and how to slowly transition guys out and transition guys into being the new core guys. That’s what he’s done tremendously well. Something else I just got from watching him. I don’t know if a lot of people are talking about this, but the style of defensive player you need today, in my opinion, has changed. I got that based on what I saw him do last year in the playoffs. He put guys on the field that could chase Patrick Mahomes, then to stop the Rams from running. So looking for these big bulky defensive end-type players is no longer relevant. What you’re looking for is you’re looking for the Brian Burnses of the world. I just thought he did some really amazing things. You have to find the sideline-to-sideline guys who can play every down.”

“Will you be choosy in your next job?” I asked.

“If I take this job, it’s because I believe I can win. I do. We gotta wait and see what’s available and who’s out there and if anybody’s interested, but to me, if you take a job and you’re not convinced you can win, what are you taking the job for? So for me, I’m gonna look at obviously the ownership, the front office, the management, the support. And then of course, the players. I am one of those who believes that God does have a plan. Whatever that plan, wherever that plan takes me, that’s what I’m gonna do. I’m gonna do it with all my heart.”

Read more from Peter King’s Football Morning in America here

NFL quarterback rankings 2023: Chris Simms’ top 40 QB countdown ahead of upcoming NFL season


While the NFL is a league that is ever-changing, some things are set to stay the same in 2023 — like the revealing of Chris Simms’ top 40 QB countdown.

Last year’s list saw Josh Allen take his place atop the quarterback throne, with Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes and Los Angeles’ Justin Herbert not far behind at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively. It was, however, Mahomes who would ultimately reign over all NFL quarterbacks at the end of the season, as the 27-year-old collected both the NFL MVP honors and his second Lombardi Trophy.

This NFL offseason, however, has brought some intriguing adjustments that are likely to shake up Simms’ rankings.

While some signal-callers such as Jalen Hurts and Lamar Jackson found their prolonged home with massive contract signings, others will be venturing to a new franchise in search of a fresh start. Aaron Rodgers‘ trade to the New York Jets is unquestionably the most staggering shift, but other quarterbacks on the move such as Derek Carr and Jimmy Garoppolo cannot be forgotten.

RELATED: Mike Florio gives an inside look into the Lamar Jackson deal

And with three of the first four picks in the 2023 NFL Draft being spent on a quarterback, emerging talent will likely turn the tides for some franchises this upcoming season.

See below for Chris Simms’ top 40 QB countdown ahead of the upcoming season. Be sure to subscribe to Chris Simms Unbuttoned for more on the 2023 NFL season as well as an unfiltered look at the NFL featuring player access, unabashed opinion, X&O film breakdown and stories from a life in and around football.

RELATED: Peter King’s latest offseason NFL power rankings

Chris Simms’ 2023 Top 40 QB Countdown:

40. Desmond Ridder (ATL)

39. Sam Howell (WAS)

38. Bryce Young (CAR)

37. CJ Stroud (HOU)

36. Anthony Richardson (IND)

35. Mike White (MIA)

34. Gardner Minshew (IND)

33. Taylor Heinicke (ATL)

32. Jarrett Stidham (DEN)

31. Jordan Love (GB)

30. Davis Mills (HOU)

29. Tyler Huntley (BAL)

28. Andy Dalton (CAR)

27. Sam Darnold (SF)

26. Brock Purdy (SF)

25. Kenny Pickett (PIT)

24. Baker Mayfield (TB)

23. Justin Fields (CHI)

22. Jimmy Garoppolo (LV)

21. Tua Tagovailoa (MIA)

20. Mac Jones (NE)

19. Kyler Murray (AZ)

18. Derek Carr (NO)

17. Jared Goff (DET)

16. Ryan Tannehill (TEN)

15. Geno Smith (SEA)

14. Russell Wilson (DEN)

2023 NFL Schedule Release: Start time, how to watch, live stream, channel


With another exciting NFL Draft in the books, teams can now turn their gaze toward the road to Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas. The path to Super Bowl glory, however, is about to become abundantly more clear with the 2023 NFL season schedule release.

This year’s NFL season schedule release is nearly here, with the entirety of the 2023 NFL schedule being unveiled on Thursday, May 11 at 8 p.m. ET on both Peacock and NFL Network. See below for everything you need to know for one of the offseason’s most anticipated events.

RELATED: Click here for full analysis on Rounds 1-7 of the 2023 NFL Draft

When will the 2023 NFL season schedule be released?

While all 272 matchups have been known since the conclusion of the 2022 regular season, the order and dates for these games have remained a mystery. The secret is nearly out, however, with every NFL game on the brink of revelation.

The full 2023 NFL schedule will be released on Thursday, May 11 at 8:00 p.m. ET.

How can I watch the 2023 NFL season schedule release?

The 2023 NFL season schedule release will take place Thursday, May 11 on Peacock, NFL Network, and the NFL app at 8 p.m. ET.

While the entirety of the schedule will be unveiled at that time, select games have already been and will continue to be released prior to the official event. Ahead of the 2023 NFL season schedule release, the following games will be announced:

Who will play in the 2023 NFL Kickoff game?

The first game of the 2023-24 NFL season will see the reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs take the field in Arrowhead Stadium.

The opponent that will meet Patrick Mahomes and company in Kansas City, however, remains to be revealed.

Which NFL teams have international games in 2023?

While the majority of the matchups set to take place next season have yet to be announced, the league has already revealed which teams will head overseas for international showdowns.

Below is the full list of international NFL games for the 2023-24 season, with three in London, U.K., and two in Frankfurt, Germany.

Falcons vs. Jaguars: Week 4, Oct. 1 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Wembley Stadium in London, U.K.

Jaguars vs. Bills: Week 5, Oct. 8 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, U.K.

Ravens vs. Titans: Week 6, Oct. 15 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, U.K.

Dolphins vs. Chiefs: Week 9, Nov. 5 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Frankfurt Stadium in Frankfurt, Germany

Colts vs. Patriots: Week 10, Nov. 12 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Frankfurt Stadium in Frankfurt, Germany

RELATED: NFL’s 2023 international games full of “star power”

When is the Super Bowl and where will it be taking place?

Stars will be shining bright in Las Vegas, Nevada, for Super Bowl LVIII, set to take place on Feb. 11, 2024, at the home of the Raiders in Allegiant Stadium.

This will be the first Super Bowl to ever take place in Las Vegas, which hosted the 2023 Pro Bowl and 2022 NFL Draft.

Be sure to follow ProFootballTalk for the latest news, updates, and storylines about the upcoming NFL season!