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Rivera's remarks: Tinkering with the 3-4

Posted Oct 21, 2011

Comments from Carolina Panthers Head Coach Ron Rivera.

On injuries: Everybody (Greg Olsen, Jeremy Shockey and Thomas Williams) worked today that was capable of working. Omar (Gaither) and Jordan (Pugh) still are struggling.

On who is the backup safety behind Sherrod Martin: Jermale Hines, he'll be the third. If we get in an emergency situation, R.J. (Stanford) will be our emergency safety.

On how much he expects to use the 3-4 defense against the Washington Redskins: We'll tinker with it. It's a good changeup. It gives us a good mixup. It does present some problems for offenses at times. It also helps us to have a guy like an Antwan Applewhite who's played that position for us.

On if the 3-4 could evolve into the Panthers base defense: It can evolve as giving us some answers. If a team sits there and you get in an over front and they take the tight end and move him back and move him across, they can dictate what you've got to do. If we come out and we line up like this and they want to change the tight end, we can dictate to them. It gives us options is what it does. To talk about it as being a base might be a little premature. The big thing to do is we'd have to get a couple more linebackers like an Antwan Applewhite. What's happening right now is he gives us opportunities and options, and I think that's probably the biggest thing. You don't want to get too heavy with those kinds of guys, because certain other positions become obsolete.

On if down the road he wants the Panthers base defense to be a 3-4 or a 4-3 with 3-4 tendencies: Right now because of the personnel we have we're looking at a 4-3 with the tendencies. With a Charles Johnson and a Greg Hardy, it makes no sense. You don't want to take Charles and put him in a position where he could potentially drop (into pass coverage) every play or every other play. If he drops (now), it's off of a zone pressure and it's once in awhile. But tendencies to give them different looks, now all of a sudden they've got to prepare for a 4-3, they've got to prepare for a 3-4. What we're trying to do is create some options and opportunities.

On if he expects the Redskins to try to establish the run against the Panthers: I would given the fact that seems to be the modus operandi starting with the Bears. From them on, everybody has tried to (run the ball). What we've tried to do is we've tried to counter it. We've worked it and we've worked it and we've worked it. One of the big things we've worked on is setting the edges. We've tried to emphasize linebackers getting down, hitting the double teams and taking the double teams off of the three and the nose. That's one of the things that has happened, too. We don't come downhill; we tend to run sideways too much. We can't run sideways - not in this defense. If run sideways in this defense, we're just giving up yards.

On if linebacker Jason Phillips is starting because he improves the Panthers run defense: Yes, that's a big part of the reason why we've got Jason playing this week. Jason is a little bit more of downhill player. He understands playing downhill and fitting the run.

On using the upcoming three-game home stand over the next four weeks to turn things around: Most certainly. We've got three games in the next four weeks at home. We've got an opportunity to do that. You always talk about one game at a time. But I told the players on Wednesday that I'm not just looking at one game at time. I'm looking at where we can be at the bye and then where we can go from the bye. Yes, it is one game at a time. We want to win this one, because to get a winning streak you've got to win one and then you've got to win two, and that's where we've got to be.