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Ron Rivera: Not happy with 'terrible' plays by offense against Titans

From missed assignments to dropped passes to calling out wide receiver Kaelin Clay for spiking the football after a play, Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera wasn’t pleased with his offense in Thursday’s joint practice against the Tennessee Titans.

Rivera told reporters in Nashville the offense at times was "terrible," and he delivered a similar message to the team after practice.

"We can’t have that if we expect to win football games," Rivera said. "We can’t do the things that we did today. ... If you expect to be great, you’ve got to be great every day."

Rivera was especially unhappy with the spike by Clay, a journeyman receiver trying to earn a roster spot, that earned a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty.

"Yeah he deserved a penalty," Rivera said. "You don’t do that kind of bullsh--. You really don’t. And I’ll have a conversation about that with him.

“It makes no sense. Now in a critical situation where you need to move the ball forward you just went backwards."

It was that kind of day for the Panthers offensively.

And Rivera didn’t let the absence of key players such as tight end Greg Olsen and running back Jonathan Stewart, getting a veteran’s day off, serve as an excuse for the mistakes and overall lack of rhythm.

“It doesn’t matter, because the guys that dropped the balls were guys that got opportunities," Rivera said. “They were good balls that got dropped. When the ball hits you in the hands, you’ve got to catch it.

“The guys in front have to block. Those are things we didn’t do well today, and because of it we didn’t look very good."

The Panthers also didn’t have quarterback Cam Newton for team drills as the 2015 NFL MVP continued to rehab his surgically-repaired shoulder. Rivera said Newton would be evaluated again on Friday to determine if he will play in Saturday’s preseason game against the Titans.

As always, Rivera said he would err on the side of caution and go with what the trainers and doctors suggest, likely an indication Newton won’t play for the second straight week.

Newton did throw in individual and 7-on-7 drills Thursday.

“You could tell he was rusty," Rivera said. “A couple late on the decisions he made. When he was throwing the ball, he was throwing the ball well, so we’re not concerned about that.

“Now it’s just a matter of him working himself back into shape where he can go out and take normal reps instead of us having to make sure we monitor him."