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Game Quotes: Panthers vs. Saints

Posted Sep 27, 2015

Notable quotes from the Panthers locker room following the team's Week 3 victory over New Orleans.

HEAD COACH RON RIVERA

His message to the team after the game: "My message to the team was that was a hell of a team victory. It really was. They fought, scratched and did a lot of good things. We made mistakes. We put ourselves in a tough situation a couple of times. We have some things we have to shore up. It’s unfortunate we had the opportunity to play better and that’s the thing we pretty much got across to our guys. I’m very pleased with the team victory though, more so than anything else. Because if you look at it and look at the way we played, I thought the players as a team played the way we needed to play to win a football game."

On Josh Norman’s interception: "It’s just a Josh Norman play. It’s funny because when the young man gets the opportunity to play with vision, he gets the opportunity to make plays. That’s the beautiful thing about it. Again, he is a playmaker. He is a solid football player and he has come a long way. I’m proud of what he did."

Do you envision winning a game by 20-plus points? "I’d like to. It would make life a lot easier, that’s for sure. Again, people are going to give us their best. I think part of it is because we are the defending NFC South champs. I think that plays into how people approach us and they are going to play their best against us. New Orleans is always going to do that because of Sean Payton, because of the divisional rivalry and that’s the truth of the matter there. The biggest thing that we have to do is give them back our best because if they give us their best we have to give them our best. If we don’t, we will end up on the wrong end."

On Greg Olsen’s performance today: "I’m not sure if it necessarily was the matchup as much as what we were trying to do.  Basically they were rolling one direction and taking away some other sides of the field which allowed Greg to be open. So again, I think a lot of it has to do with moving Greg around. Greg doesn’t play the conventional tight end position. You see him sometimes line up at the Y, what we call the F, the X, the Z and the W. It just depends on where Mike Shula wants to put him. That’s what makes him such a valuable part of our offense."

On Cam Newton’s performance today: "I thought it was outstanding. I thought he made a lot of good decisions. He missed a couple. He knows that. It’s funny because whenever he does, he tells me right away. That lets me know he is right on time and I’m happy about that. I thought again, just the way he plays and handles the things, the responsibility that Mike Shula and Ken Dorsey put on him and he accepts that. He accepts the challenge. We know it’s not always going to be roses, there is going to be some tough times as well. As long as we continue to fight and do the things we are capable of, I think we give ourselves the chance to win football games."

On the defense’s last minute stops last two games: "We most certainly do challenge them to be the ones to step up. As a defensive coach you want to be in that position because you have a lot of confidence in that group of guys. Things get a little scary and we are going to be a little thin obviously because of some situations but that is the nature of the game. We will just go from there. As was said, I’d love to have a 20 point win. It would make life a lot easier."

On team’s struggles today against New Orleans: "The very first two drives, we struggled with the underneath stuff. We probably got a little too much depth and they were able to dig and dive. That was really what happened in terms of that. Sean McDermott and Steve Wilks made some adjustments with the passing defense and we were able to stop it. Then we got a little soft in the last quarter. We could have been more aggressive but again, we didn’t have certain guys on the field. "

Did you want to see more pass rush? "Truth be it, at that point you know you got to start getting our hands up. We did it a couple of times. We got one tip and one knock down. But again, at that point when the ball is coming out in rhythm, and again this is what we felt about them, they could be very effective and we saw that. The thing that was good was that we played good, solid rush defense. We held them to 66 yards rushing. When you can do that, you can back your linebackers off a little bit and that helped us in certain situations."

QB CAM NEWTON

On openings in the passing game: "It is just a credit to first, great play by the offensive line. Going into the week, we felt like we had to run the football. We got away with some things and got off track, but the success of the pass game was pretty much dictated by the offensive line. Those guys really controlled the ball up front, gave me a lot of time to scan the field and made sure that I could throw an accurate pass. Also, guys just making plays like Ted (Ginn, Jr.) being exceptional and putting pressure on defenders with his speed. It was great to see (Brenton) Bersin back out there and making plays. What hasn’t been said about Greg (Olsen)? It is just him being him."

On his 52-yard pass to Greg Olsen: "It is just a lot of things that we go over during the week. We got high tendencies to do things and as Greg plays better and better each and every week, the workload for him increases. That particular route was something that he brought up and said with the defenders and how they were playing him and sure enough, gave us what they wanted. It is just him making a play and getting a lot of YAC afterwards."

If he felt a sense of urgency with New Orleans scoring on the first drive: "It was putting a lot of pressure on us. I can tell you that. For us to only have three possessions in the first half, points and drives were at a premium. We had to respond. It was one thing that going into this year, it is not talking about pointing the finger or what is the problem. It is more about finding solutions, buckling up and getting the job done. For us to go down there and score and take a lot of stress off the team making it 10-7 rather than 10-0 with them having the ball was one of my best drives as preferred for the team."

On Josh Norman’s interception: "That is just Josh being Josh, man."

Where he was when he saw Norman’s interception: "I can say that this is his second amazing pick in similar fashion. We had one time now that the season has started that we get the opportunity to go against the starting defense and that is in two minute. This particular week, we were driving, driving, driving. I take pride in making practice as well as coaches stay on us to always make practice game-like. We were driving and trying to make points for two minute and it’s like fifteen or twelve seconds so we have two opportunities to go to the end zone with no time-outs left. I throw a fade to a receiver and Josh (Norman) makes a play just like that so I am ticked off. I am like, well. I think it is safe to say that I gave him his preparation for (Luke) McCown trying to throw the fade to him. It is incredible to see practice carry over to the game."

On his 13-yard touchdown run: "It was a call that we go over each and every week of plays in specific situations. On the third and short with the opportunity to score, we have fav plays (favorite plays) that we like in that situation. We had a play call and we try to self scout so much because we try not to be all over the place. We try to find things that we do well and just focus on them. With that play, we have a high tendency of doing something else to show the defense one thing and counteract and do another. It was just a credit to great coaching and guys going out there and executing."

TE GREG OLSEN

On his first touchdown catch: "Needed to get that off my back really. We’ve had a rough start to the season with penalties and I had my second one called back so it felt good to kind of regroup. That drive wasn’t too kind to me for a while, but it’s always nice to bounce back and get that touchdown and get back on the board. When they jumped out to a 10-0 lead we knew we had our work cut out for us so it was a great answer for us and guys just kept plugging away."

On being able to finish out close games: "I think it comes from us finding ourselves in these situations a lot where we have to fight right down to the last play. There are not many games where things go easy for us or we don’t break the score away. We have to earn everything and I think as a result we have a lot of guys with a lot of character and a lot of resiliency and no matter what we just keep on swinging and keep on going. I think it’s a product of our culture around here, a product of everything we’ve been through together and we just have to keep that momentum moving."

On Devin Funchess’ catch in the fourth quarter: "I told them then and on the sideline after, I said, ”That was the play of the game.” We needed to go down, they just went down and scored, we needed to answer the drive. We were up four, so a touchdown would’ve been great. He made a great contested catch, took a big hit, got the 15-yard penalty. It’s a 25 to 30-yard play. I told him that’s the play of the game. Those plays in crunch time and in the fourth quarter you just have to hang on and take those shots. That’s what were paid to do. For a young kid to come in, that was critical. I think he only caught that ball, but that was as big of a play that we had."

WR TED GINN

On chunk plays affecting the defense: "Yeah especially when you can get it from your tight end and your X and your Z. Our game plan is always to try to get big plays. Greg Olsen had a great game for us. He was our starting point for our offense today and we picked up after him and we just took off."

On being 3-0: "It’s great but we can’t get complacent, we have to go back and look at things we did wrong and continue to harp on the things we did right. We just want to keep going on and playing the game. That’s all we can do."

CB JOSH NORMAN

On his interception: "I think they were down to their last straw. I was getting doubled and moved all day so I was high and I maintained my discipline so once I saw it I chopped my feet and kept running high I kinda knew that God was going to give me wings to fly. Whenever I got up there and saw the ball he lifted me up and I went to go get it."

On Luke McCown’s play: "He didn’t do anything to turn the ball over. He was smart as all get out. He came in and he saw the reads. If something wasn’t there he wasn’t hesitating or throwing it. He went to the check down right away. As soon as he saw the safety’s rotating he checked it to a run. Hats off to that guy, he’s going to be pretty good in this league. He showed how he was able to manage the game. It was a dog fight out there, completely a dog fight. They weren’t coming out here and laying down. They came out here and fought and gave it their best effort. We get that and we just have to play against what we see and we were able to pull it out."

On landing hard after the interception: "I came down so hard on it. I don’t know how high up there I was in the air and I just came down and all of my back felt it. As soon as I came down I got up and adrenaline surged through my body, but then that pain brought me to my knees. I just made sure I held onto the ball and walked off. Bene [Benwikere] told me that I could’ve got up and run but that was too much."

C RYAN KALIL

On Josh Norman interception: "Josh is a good player. He’s playing pretty well for us and he’s making good plays for us. I’m happy he’s on our team."

On Greg Olsen’s spike in the endzone: "Olsen is kind of anti-celebration. He likes to point that out on guys around the league doing that kind of stuff so it’s good to kind of bust his chops when he does it but he was obviously was a little upset about the penalties that were called on him, which I think he was rightfully upset, but it’s always fun to bust his chops."

On the 3-0 start: "It’s hard to win games in this league so anytime you can start the season 3-0 it’s a big deal. Especially winning these divisional games."

On the play of the offensive line: "I think there’s continuity there that’s starting to work in our favor. We had a lot of young and inexperienced guys last year and a lot of those guys are back, especially on the offensive line. I think there’s some consistencies there that we’re starting to build on and it makes me excited about our offense moving forward."

 

RE: His interception

I think they were down to their last straw. I was getting doubled and moved all day so I was high and I maintained my discipline so once I saw it I chopped my feet and kept running high I kinda knew that God was going to give me wings to fly. Whenever I got up there and saw the ball he lifted me up and I went to go get it.

 

RE: Luke McCown’s play

He didn’t do anything to turn the ball over. He was smart as all get out. He came in and he saw the reads. If something wasn’t there he wasn’t hesitating or throwing it. He went to the check down right away. As soon as he saw the safety’s rotating he checked it to a run. Hats off to that guy, he’s going to be pretty good in this league. He showed how he was able to manage the game. It was a dog fight out there, completely a dog fight. They weren’t coming out here and laying down. They came out here and fought and gave it their best effort. We get that and we just have to play against what we see and we were able to pull it out.

 

RE: Landing hard after the interception

I came down so hard on it. I don’t know how high up there I was in the air and I just came down and all of my back felt it. As soon as I came down I got up and adrenaline surged through my body, but then that pain brought me to my knees. I just made sure I held onto the ball and walked off. Bene [Benwikere] told me that I could’ve got up and run but that was too much.