On what Panthers do well to get
On Marshawn Lynch’s status: "We had a good practice day today and we’ll see how he is tomorrow, see how he can recover from a really hard working day today and we’ll take it one day at a time."
On the number one scoring defense of Seattle vs. the number one scoring offense in Carolina: "We’re going to try to do what we do, play really good, solid football. Always want to stop the run first and see if we can stay on top of the throwing game and just see where that fits. This is the most diversified offense that we see and the dynamics of what Cam (Newton) is able to do and the way that they’re willing to run with him makes this a really difficult offense to prepare for and you see everybody have trouble with it all year long so we’ll see if we can keep it down and try to keep the score within reach and see if we have a chance."
On what he’s seen from the guys new to the Panthers secondary: "Well, Robert (McClain) hasn’t played a lot, we don’t have a lot of film on him, but he looks to be a very solid football player. Can make the plays and make the hits, had a nice pick in a game so he’s done some good things already.
On if they stayed away from
On how they've done a better job protecting Russell Wilson as the season progressed: "Well we started off with kind of a new mix on the offensive line and had a change even after the early part at center with Patrick Lewis coming in. That was necessary, and we just had to be patient and allow the guys to come together. We just got cleaner, communication is much sharper and then we’ve done a few things just to make sure that we complement their style and what we’re doing with the run game. It’s just been a number of areas that we’ve grown and we’re just more efficient than we were earlier in the year and of course Russell has really been able to benefit from that."
On playing at 10 a.m. Seattle time for the second week in a row: "We always play them here (in Carolina). We’ve been playing them for years, and we’re geared for it. It doesn’t make a big difference for us. We practice the whole camp at ten o’clock in the morning so that we’ve prepared our bodies to know how to do that and not make a big deal about it forever, and we’ve been doing pretty OK here on the road for a while and we’re kind of willing to take it on. We know it’s a challenge and historically it’s been a difficult time slot for teams from the West. We’re trying to reverse that."On similarities between the two teams in how the organization is run: "Well when you really emphasize defense as Ron (Rivera) has done and you really put your stock in the running game, as they have done, and you find yourself with a mobile quarterback, a guy who can do a lot of things, you see a lot of similarities. I feel like this is a fairly classic approach for a defensive guy to take, and I’ve watched Ron for a long time and watched him build this program and really respected how he’s done it and we really agree with kind of the formula. Special teams for us and for them really solid areas where we don’t make a lot of mistakes and don’t put ourselves in bad situations, and so it’s a very similar type of team, very much so like the group we just played in Minnesota with defensive coordinators as head coaches. That kind of follows, and so I think it’s a fantastic matchup for us. We’ve really enjoyed the games, we’ve had such tough games over the years, and I’m sure we’ll be fortunate if we can be close again."
On how to manage a team with a lot of swagger: "By sticking to the standards and the things that we believe in that it takes to win and how you prepare and all that. We found that our guys, the last thing I want to do is squash the personalities that are on this team. I want them to live life to the fullest, but they know that that entails living by the guidelines and what it takes to be a really good team member. Our guys have been that to the max for a number of years, and so we just have really high standards for how we operate and how we play. And we believe in celebrating the individuals as much as we can, and we want them to be true to themselves."
On where their playoff experience shows up the most: "I hope it shows up in our consistency. That stems from our ability to stay balanced with what happens, the good things, the bad things, the challenges, the ups and downs, the changes in the roster and all that kind of stuff. To stay balanced and to stay true to who you are and all of that and not get wavered by the matchup or the magnitude of whatever game it is or whatever you guys build it up to be with the history and all that kind of stuff. We just don’t mess with that kind of stuff. We’re really good at focusing on the week that we have and the game that we have, and that’s ultimately most important to us."
Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson
On if this matchup feels like a division game: "Yeah, you know obviously the Panthers have been doing a great job. Coach Rivera has those guys rolling and their defense is lights out.
On how important playoff experience is for a quarterback: "I think obviously the playoff experience and going through a lot of the games is huge. You learn how to get ready for those type of games and really zone in and focus and do whatever you need to do to try to find a way to win. Playoff games are always a battle. It’s always one of those things where it’s going to be a long game, and you have to stay the course."
On the wild play last week that led to the team’s first touchdown: "Well the snap got by me there. I wasn’t quite ready for it yet. So I just raced back there and I was going to go down, but I kind of peeked over my shoulder and realized they weren’t there yet, and I got back there and picked up the ball and just tried to scamper outside and find somebody. Obviously Tyler Lockett got open there and did a great job and raced down to the three-yard line and we ended up getting a touchdown on that drive, so that was a big play for us. But there were so many other big plays, Jeremy Lane knocking that ball down on the deep ball that was a huge play and Kam Chancellor knocking the ball out on the fumble, so we made the plays when we needed to in a tough environment in a tough situation."
On the changes in personnel for the Panthers, especially in the secondary: "Well you don’t see a drop off necessarily at all. You know, you see Josh Norman still making plays, you see, I believe,
On avoiding Josh Norman in the first matchup: "Obviously, Josh is a great player. I don’t think that we were necessarily trying to do anything like that, but you know, you have to know where he is, that’s for sure. I’ve gotten to know Josh over the past four or five years in training at IMG coming out. He was there as well, so we’ve gotten to know each other pretty well and work together and just really train together. Same with Luke Kuechly, too. And I obviously played against Luke at Boston College vs. N.C. State, so those two guys you really need to know where they are on the field, and same with Thomas Davis. They’re true playmakers and great football players."
On if he would he vote
On where playoff experience most manifests itself in the postseason: "I think that’s a huge asset but that’s not everything. I think about my rookie year, we hadn’t been to the playoffs or anything like that you know but we did extremely well, and the next year we won the Super Bowl with a very young team, and the third year we were still a very young team and we were able to go to back-to-back Super Bowls and we were on the one-yard line to win the game. So you use that experience to help you prepare and stay mentally clear and focused and all that and communicate in the locker room and make sure that everyone is on the same page. At the same time, too, it is just a game. It’s 100-yards-by-53-and-a-third. It’s an important game obviously, but when I say it’s just a game the football field is still going to look the same and there’s still going to be refs out there, there’s still going to be eleven guys out there on offense and eleven on defense, so you just try to play the game the same way."
On his thoughts when the Vikings missed the field goal to win last week: "It was a crazy game obviously and anything can happen in the playoffs and so Blair Walsh, I have a lot of respect for him as a kicker. He made a long kick early in that game that was like, ‘Man to make that in that weather!’ you know, but fortunately for us we were able to move on to the next game. That’s in the past, so we have to get ready for this game. Obviously, we have a great challenge in front of us, and we have to get ready to go."