You'd think the Carolina Panthers would be somewhat humbled by their 3-9 season. You'd think wrong.
Defensive end Greg Hardy said Wednesday that his Panthers are better than the 11-1 Atlanta Falcons, and now we have a clearer picture of why he was so fired up. The Associated Press reported that "several" Panthers are upset about how cameras caught Ryan telling them to get off his field at the Georgia Dome, with a few choice expletives thrown in for good measure.
"(Ryan) said some harsh words, man, so it's going to be a fight out there," Panthers cornerback Captain Munnerlyn said. "He totally disrespected us. They won the game. They came all of the way back to beat us. But to say what he said, I don't think there was cause for it."
Said Hardy: "We owe them something, and it is coming. I'm trying to mess with their whole playoff experience. I want them to go home sick in the stomach and mad about life, a couple of depression issues, all types of things. It's going to be a long day from my point of view. I'm coming."
This all felt a little manufactured for motivation, but defensive end Charles Johnson said Ryan's words have bothered him since Week 4. The Panthers could have evened their record at 2-2 back then, but it spiraled out of control when they gave up a big lead. They pressured Ryan well in the game and plan to again.
"He likes to hold the ball, and that's something he should do when you're coming to play the Carolina Panthers because it's going to have repercussions," Hardy said.
"Truthfully, if you want to do something about it, (then) do it on the field," Rivera said. "That's the way I look at it. Let's not talk about it, let's let our actions speak for us on the field."Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.