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This story appears in ESPN The Magazines December 12 NFL Chemistry Issue. Cheap Rangers Jerseys . Subscribe today!At this moment, the only form of music inside the Panthers locker room emanates from under the towel draped over Greg Olsens head.?The All-Pro tight end is howling something that sounds an awful lot like the Chainsmokers Closer on his way from the showers to his locker. Its lunchtime on a recent hump day inside the Panthers workplace, that strange and sacred inner sanctum known as an NFL locker room. And as players trickle in from meetings, film study or the weight room, the space around Olsen bursts to life. Across the room, backup quarterback Derek Anderson fills his lip with dip and conducts an impromptu clinic for a lineman on the undercarriage etiquette of the QB-center exchange.Cam Newton, battered and bruised most of the season, is all smiles today; hes luxuriating in a short plush gray robe and squeaky red shower flip-flops. Rotund fullback Mike Tolbert, having heard enough of Olsens a cappella performance, fires up some old-school hip-hop on the coffee-table-size speaker that occupies half his locker.Head coach Ron Rivera looks in from a doorway on the far end of the room. One glance tells him everything he needs to know about the teams mental state. A year ago, the Panthers were on a magical ride toward the Super Bowl. This season has been one hellacious hangover, up to and including a Week 11 victory over the Saints that landed like a loss when Carolinas best defender, linebacker Luke Kuechly, went down with a late-game concussion.But youd never suspect it based on this scene. Rivera smiles, nods his approval and continues to lunch. To the main alchemist behind this hypermasculine, homosocial kaleidoscope of racial, religious, political, cultural and socio-economic backgrounds, the Panthers locker room is a nearly perfect portrait of how team chemistry actually looks and behaves.True team chemistry is far from the Hollywood trope that gung-ho teamwork and camaraderie can overcome any lack of talent, preparation or execution. A few wins cant save a bad locker room, just like a few losses cant destroy a good one. Nor is a great locker room about sanctified uniformity: 53 robots harmoniously rallying together for the greater good.Instead, Rivera has discovered, team chemistry is an ideal rooted in and powered by diversity. At its core, its a complex formula of archetypes: divas and choirboys, naive rookies and cagey veterans, enforcers and politicians, comedians and a-holes, alpha males and foot soldiers.When mixed properly, the result can coalesce into epic performances and lifelong bonds. But if the recipe is off even slightly, the sour blend can just as easily blow a team up. The locker room is the pulse of every franchise, Rivera explains. But its not about sameness, about everybody being and thinking the same. Real team chemistry is about understanding and accepting everybody for who they are. Its more along the lines of what I keep telling these guys: In the end, we love people for who they are to us.But Rivera is not delusional. Of course hed rather have a locker room filled with healthy linemen, last seasons MVP version of Newton and some playmaking ability in the defensive backfield to make up for Josh Normans departure. Barring that, at least he has an intact locker room. Thats no small thing, because by this time in the season, most also-ran teams would be a vat of toxic tension filled with infighting and finger-pointing. One tiny spark over something as innocuous as the locker room stereo can lead to meltdown.Even worse is when theres no emotion at all, a clear sign that players have already checked out. Newton says the Panthers, despite their record, still have the best locker room hes ever experienced. With that one ingredient, even the pipe dream of a worst-to-first run after Thanksgiving remains alive. Thats why the locker room is so important, Rivera says. Theres a direct correlation between how you do on the field and the pulse you feel from inside that room.?Riveras room didnt truly begin to take shape until January 2013. The Panthers had finished 7-9 in the 2012 season, and the clock was ticking on the second-year coach. Rivera invited a handful of team leaders to dinner in Charlotte. After a few appetizers, he asked them to do an autopsy on the season, focusing on the bad vibe in the locker room. The players responded with prolonged silence. So again, Guys, come on, whats going on in there?Rivera grew up in a military family-his father, Eugenio, served 32 years in the Army, including two tours in Vietnam-and he once had a group of retired Air Force pilots speak to the team.At dinner, Rivera reminded his players about the story of how the pilots would peel off their ranks after every mission, throw them on the table and talk openly about one anothers performances. Then the floodgates just opened, Rivera says. At first I was like, Golly, screw you guys, why didnt you tell me any of this during the season?Rivera, who as a linebacker for the Bears from 1984 to 1992 was in some of the best-and most dysfunctional-locker rooms in NFL history, identified on this night that one of the main components he needed to change was himself. He had to be more in touch. Several years earlier, Hall of Fame coach John Madden had told Rivera that to lead todays players he first had to understand their world. That was hard to do while working out of an office on a different floor.So to open lines of communication, he set up a satellite office right outside the locker room and started making daily trips to interact with his players, even occasionally sitting in for a round of cards. He encouraged his assistant coaches to do the same.Eventually, it dawned on Rivera that its not race, religion or even politics that poisons a locker room. Its hypocrisy: the guy who talks tough but wont run across the middle; the Bible banger who cheats on his wife; the player who preaches selflessness in team meetings and then hangs teammates out to dry on Sunday while padding his own stats. Sure, a locker room is like a brotherhood, Anderson says. Anyone who has brothers knows that sometimes you just want to slap the crap out of your brother.Rivera put on his lab coat and looked at what he had to work with in his room. He had a diva (Newton), an enforcer (linebacker Thomas Davis), a comedian/DJ (Tolbert), a player-coach (center Ryan Kalil), a Captain America (Kuechly), a social commentator (Olsen) and a group of sincere religious players (including long-snapper J.J. Jansen). What he didnt need were any more alpha males.While every group dynamic needs some tension, too many volatile and unpredictable personalities inside the Panthers locker room had led to a Lord of the Flies dynamic and a growing animosity between the offense and defense. Although Rivera never mentions any players by name, the Panthers released Steve Smith Sr., their all-time leading receiver, after the 2013 season, and after 2014 they moved on from troubled defensive end Greg Hardy. Since then, Rivera has cultivated the kind of locker room that might even be immune to the current NFC South standings.The day after Newton debuted his midthigh bathrobe, 345-pound defensive lineman Paul Soliai saunters out of the showers looking like a shampoo commercial extra, his hair perfectly wrapped in a towel that stretches halfway to the ceiling. Theres a hopeful rumor going around that Tolbert -- whod persuaded fellow running backs to attend team meetings on Halloween dressed as Power Rangers -- might bring back his teamwide Dubsmash competition, featuring another Adele song.Even though the Panthers are 3-5 -- and headed toward 4-7 after 11 games -- everything seems fine in here. But Riveras best barometer for team psyche is another room: the players lounge. On most struggling teams, a room like this is where players flock when theyve lost all hope. Carolinas lounge is located just around the corner from Newtons locker. Its packed with cushy couches, massage chairs, a large-screen TV and video games galore. The works.On this day, at least, while the locker room buzzes, the lounge sits empty. Cheap Rangers Jerseys Authentic . Hey!" The lower tier of the School End of Queens Park Rangers Loftus Road was packed solid with a very festive-sounding Chelsea choral section in this particular part of South Africa Road London, W12. Cheap MLB Jerseys Authentic . The quest begins with what is supposed to be an easy one, although Germany has traditionally been a stubborn opponent to Canadian teams at international tournaments. . Fred Couples, captain of the U.S. side, put it all into perspective. "We know whos in charge," he said. MIAMI -- Andrew Cashner finally resembled like the pitcher the Miami Marlins hoped he would be when they acquired him in a trade with San Diego.Cashner struck out nine over 5 1/3 innings to win his first game for the Marlins, a 6-0 victory over the Phillies on Wednesday night.Obviously good, Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. He had a lot of pitches to get there. He was changing speeds a lot and was obviously successful.Acquired from San Diego on July 29, Cashner (5-11) allowed four hits and matched his season high for strikeouts. He had been 0-4 in his first six starts following the trade.Its kind of been a struggle since Ive been over here, Cashner said. We had a different lineup tonight. Its good to have some guys back and get us rolling.Cashner walked two and kept the Phillies off balance by pitching to all parts of the plate.He had a good mix of his pitches, fastball and slider, and he was effectively wild at times as well, Phillies first baseman Tommy Joseph said. He pitched to his game plan.Martin Prado drove in three runs for the Marlins, who faded from playoff contention by losing their previous five games and 10 of 11.We still have a lot of baseball left, Cashner said.Mike Dunn, Kyle Barraclough, A.J. Ramos and Austin Brice combined for hitless relief.Jeremy Hellickson (10-9) gave up four runs -- three earned -- and nine hits in six innings.I made too many mistakes early in the count especially the first couple of innings, Hellickson said.Ichiro Suzuki tripled in the first and scored Prados groundout. Sacrifice flies by Realmuto in the second and Prado in the fifth boosted the lead to 3-0.Third baseman Andres Blancos throwing error allowed Marcell Ozuna to reach in the sixth, andd Ozuna scored on J. Cheap Rangers Jerseys China. T. Realmutos double-play grounder.Prado and Christian Yelich hit consecutive RBI doubles in the seventh off Severino Gonzalez.Cesar Hernandez had two hits for the Phillies.Back to no offense, Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. Cesar had a couple of hits and we had a couple of men in scoring position, but couldnt get them in.ICHIROSuzuki had two hits, passing Rafael Palmeiro and increasing his career total to 3,021. He needs two hits to tie Lou Brock.TRAINERS ROOMPhillies: 3B Maikel Franco did not play after jamming his right thumb during Sundays game against Atlanta.Marlins: LHP Adam Conley (finger) could return to the Marlins this season in a relief role after being a starter prior to his injury that has sidelined him since Aug. 14. Is it going to be build back up to 100 pitches, Im not quite sure thats going to happen this season, but I think there is a chance if everything continues on a good path we could see him some time, manager Don Mattingly said.UP NEXTPhillies: RHP Alec Asher is to make his season debut Thursday to begin a four-game series at Washington. Asher was 0-6 with a 9.31 ERA in seven starts last season. He will go up against Nationals RHP A.J. Cole (1-1, 3.86 ERA). The two young right-handers went to high school 75 miles apart in Florida.Marlins: RHP Jose Fernandez (13-8, 3.03) will oppose Dodgers LHP Clayton Kershaw (11-1, 1.79) on Friday. I look forward to every match-up, but of course theres certain guys that you think, `I wish that I could pitch against this guy so Im looking forward to it, Fernandez said. Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys China Cheap Jerseys From China Cheap NFL Jerseys Authentic Wholesale Jerseys China Cheap NFL Jerseys China NFL Cheap Jerseys ' ' ' 
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