The Alliance has a fan in Carolina Panthers Head Coach Ron Rivera

The Alliance has a fan in Carolina Panthers Coach Ron Rivera staff

The Alliance of American Football has yet to play a game, but it’s already showing its potential. Just ask Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera.

After the Panthers this week re-signed QB Garrett Gilbert – the Orlando Apollos’ top selection in November’s “Protect or Pick” QB Draft – Rivera had good things to say about The Alliance and its complimentary relationship with the National Football League.

“There’s nothing you can do about (injuries) other than get the next guy ready to play,” Rivera said at a Thursday media conference. “And that’s about it. I mean, I think if it shows you anything, it shows you how thin the (NFL) is in terms of reserves.

“That’s why I think this new league, this AAF, is going to be a benefit because it’s going to give young guys an opportunity to play that don’t make teams and it gives them an opportunity to grow and develop, and I think it will be a positive thing for us. It will give young quarterbacks, young offensive linemen, guys that really can help in this league, get a chance to develop. And I think that’s the one thing that’s missing.”

Rivera added that The Alliance is for “guys who went and played in NFL Europe at one time, guys that needed a little more seasoning, a little more coaching I think to help them get ready, and it could be a very beneficial thing to the league.”

The Alliance of American Football’s inaugural season opens on Feb. 9.