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Transcript: Ron Rivera's end of season press conference

Posted Jan 8, 2018

Head coach Ron Rivera's full comments from his last presser of the 2017 season.

On not getting a replay review on Mike Adams' interception: “I asked the side judge and said, 'You’re going to need to take a look at that, he dropped the ball.' He just said, 'We’ll see.' He said something into the mic. I have no idea what he said, but I did bring it up and got no explanation. Again, situation and circumstances played out and we had our opportunity.”

On if they looked at it beforehand: “Nobody told me that.”

On if he still questions intentional grounding call after film review: “Yes. I thought he got outside the right tackle’s frame and the guy was hitting him while he was trying ot throw the ball.”

On officials' performance all season: “I think they need help. First of all, there’s a lot of vagueness to the rule book. There’s a lot of gray area. I think they put a lot on them and ask them to do a lot. Things happen in a split second. They are trying to make decisions in real time. I think they do need to an extra referee in and put that guy right behind the linebacker. If they have to pad him up, pad him up. These guys are trying to do something that’s very difficult, and this is an emotional game. I get emotional about it, and I know they’re trying to do the best they can. I think there’s a way to solve it and help them out. We need to take the gray area out."

On if he received explanation on why Newton wasn’t out of the pocket: “No. We’ll see what happens. Like I said, Tony (Corrente) is a decorated head referee, and he tried to make the decision he thought was right. It was tough.”

On how it’s rare that a team as successful as the Panthers is up for sale: “We’ll see how it goes. I know it’s a bit of a surprise, but I am proud of the way the organization handled it – the whole circumstances. I appreciate the support we got from the community. I thought they got behind us and were able to stay focused and get to the playoffs. It is going to be different, it is going to be weird to be honest. The thing that you hope for as we go forward is that we’ve done enough, we’ve done some good things that the next person that comes in will take a look at us and see how we do things."

On reports of a local group interested in ownership forming and if he’s been a part of any talks: “No, but I do know Felix (Sabates) and we’ve talked about football and in general, but nothing like that. I hope that it’s somebody who’s willing to keep the team here. I think this is great area and we’ve shown that we can be supported, which we have been by the community. We give back to the community, and I think we have things in place that make this an ideal place for a football team. I think we’ve proven over our 20-plus years in existence and what Mr. Richardson has done and how this community has grown."

On the difficulty dealing with distractions: “I think it’s relatively easy because it’s on the other side of the building. We’re the football side, that’s the business side. I know the new owner will impact things that happen with us on the football side, but for the most part we will go about our business as we need to.”

On Newton and following concussion protocol against the Saints: “Very much so. Last night I explained to you guys based on what the young man said to me. That’s what I believe happened. From that point on I don’t think anything else needs to be said about it.”

On if Newton had any day after effects: “I don’t think so but then again I’m not the doctor. I know he still has to do his exit physical so they’ll get a chance to look at him.” 

On concern of possibly replacing a defensive coordinator for the second year: “I have concerns, but I also think we have some young guys in place. One thing that you always try to do and look at as a coach is who is the next guy, who is the next person. We have a few great candidates as far as that’s concerned. If it does come to fruition, I’ll have to go through that process again. If I lose guys to Steve (Wilks) going on, then I’ll have to look at those guys as well. I feel really good about the guys we have in place to replace Steve."

On if defensive line coach Eric Washington is one of the candidates: “I think the guys on the defensive staff. As I said there’s some guys that have been here and have grown with what we do. One thing that Steve and I talked about and Sean (McDermott) for that matter is the system is in place. It’s not about scheming and designing stuff. Being able to play fast. We made a couple mistakes last night that cost us, but when we needed something to happen, guys came through and that’s because we stuck with the system. It’s important and that’s something we believe in.”

On any other staff changes: “No. I don’t think so. I think the things that we’ve done are the right kind of things. These are all things we need to look at and evaluate and we’ll go through that process. As I said, it will be business as usual. We’ll go through our player evaluations tomorrow and I’ll sit down with the coaches and talk about our players. We’ll sit down with Marty (Hurney) and go through all that. I’ll evaluate the coaches, the scheme and we’ll go from that. I know Marty and I will sit down and talk about those things and we’ll make decisions and go forward.” 

On the benefit of having Hurney here: “He knows us. Even though he was removed for a few years, he still knows us and understands what this organization is about. He understands me and my philosophy, and I get his as well. Marty, knowing him and him knowing us, I think that’s what helps. We’ll see how things go."

On if the pieces are in place for sustained success: “Most certainly. Especially how we were able to fight through the things that we did. I think that the resilience of these young men and team was really evident in some of the things we went through. Starting in the offseason and carrying through training camp and running into the regular season up to the very end. It shows the character in the locker room, the character of the people in this building."

On play calling after the missed field goal: “That’s all part of the game. It plays into those things. How difficult was it when we gave up that late touchdown? All that plays into it and then we turn around and Graham (Gano) hits a 58-yarder. It’s all part of the game. We’re going to miss some and we’re going to make them. When he had a chance to come back and he did hit that 58-yarder, I thought it was as good of a kick as I’ve seen him make ever. That’s exciting, but it’s unfortunate it came down that way but it’s part of the game. We still had a chance at the end and that’s all you can ask for."

On any sense of what Julius Peppers is going to do: “No. Pep and I had a very nice conversation and we’ll probably talk a little bit later. But we have a number of guys that are veteran guys that are really neat people, and we’ll see how things go."

On concern of a team getting older and if veterans are still playing at high level: “We’ll see. I think they are playing at a high level. There’s a lot of guys that can do things for us. Pretty excited about it and we got some young guys that are stepping up. We have free agency and a draft coming up pretty soon as well."

On adding another receiver: “Well I think that’s a little premature to talk about what we want to do and who we want to add. But there will be conversations with Marty, the coaches and scouts in terms of what are needs will be as we get into free agency and the draft."

On Devin Funchess’ injury: “I don’t think people realize but over the last six or seven weeks Devin has been playing with a really banged up shoulder to the point where he missed two or three days of practice. For him to fight through and push through it and do the things we asked speaks a lot about how mature he’s becoming as a football player."

On if Funchess needs surgery: “I’d be worried if they told me, most certainly. I’m not a doctor but based on the way it got better in the end of the week and every time we got him to a good spot he hits the ground really hard and is back to square one."