Game Quotes: Panthers at Redskins

HEAD COACH RON RIVERA

On QB Cam Newton not looking sore after taking his hit: "No, you know, he had a really good week of practice. A lot of positives, [he] did some really good things. We worked him gradually into throwing the ball full motion and by the end of the week he felt really good. He took a little bit of a shot early on but when he came to the sideline, had a chance to take a breath and he said he was ready to roll."

On doing the same with Newton next week: "We most certainly will. We'll try to keep him loose and I know he will be sore tomorrow. We'll see how he is come Tuesday or Wednesday."

On if he thought the hit Newton took on the sideline during the first half was helmet-to-helmet: "On the sideline, yes. I took a look up at the video board and got a chance to see. That's it, I get to see it when it gets slowed down. Unfortunately, they are trying to make a decision at full speed. But at the end of the day, we need to keep our composure."

On stopping the run and running the ball: "That's what we are capable of. When we can run the ball and run it successfully, I think we give ourselves a chance to win football games. Stopping the run, I think we took away their play action passing. We were able to keep the ball in front of us. We didn't allow a big ball over the top. We were able to slow this offense down."

On everything working like a year ago: "Well, a little bit of continuity. We have an offensive line that has played together for what, four weeks now, I believe it is. You have a group of young corners that have played together for five weeks now. So we have a little bit of continuity going now. There's some things that we most certainly have to get better at but we did do things we needed to and ran the ball very effectively today."

On the defensive play: "[I am] very pleased. Probably the biggest ones that bummed me out, a couple things, we had a couple of bad penalties. Thought we missed a couple of nice tackles. We had an opportunity to force a field goal on their first touchdown and we let them get outside, get the first down and from there score the touchdown. But that was one of the biggest disappointments. But I thought defensively, [Defensive Coordinator] Sean [McDermott] and his guys did a really good job with preparations."

On the season not being where they want it to be and winning on the road: "That is exactly it, being able to come in and play well on Monday night, I think that's the satisfaction. That's why we're playing. That's why our guys are playing hard, playing hard to win. It doesn't matter. The only thing that matters is going out there and giving your best effort. As I said earlier in the week, people asked me what are you playing for, we are playing to win. That's what we are here to do."

On the growth of the secondary in a nationally televised game: "And that's what you're looking for [growth in secondary].  You know, the biggest thing I think you look at is they played with confidence. This is a good combination of receivers they have, it's a good combination of tight ends. They're dangerous in terms of explosiveness. I think they're averaging 400 yards of total offense a game, and we were able to keep that down and keep it in front of us."

On if S Kurt Coleman's experience has helped the growth of the secondary: "Yes, I think it has helped that group of young guys, including Tre Boston. Kurt has a calming effect out there to the group, and at the same time he's been able to them. It shows."

On DE Wes Horton and how big his pass rush was for momentum:  "It really is [big for momentum]. I think the biggest thing about Wes is that he is so steady and consistent. These are the things I talk about all the time, we need consistent players and that's what we got out of Wes today. I am very, very pleased for him because he works very hard at it."

On if this season's history with Newton and quarterback hits played into how he reacted on his personal foul: "Yes, without a doubt. Without a doubt. He felt it. And that's the thing, when I went over to talk to him really quick he said, 'Coach, he hit me.' I said 'okay, that's all I needed to know,' and I went on from there. Then I got a chance to see it on the screen, and had two guys in my ear telling me they saw it on television, and they showed it. And again, they're [the officials] trying to judge it full speed."

On if LB Luke Kuechly is done for the year: "We'll see. We'll see. Again, there's still a minuscule opportunity [to make the playoffs], and we will continue to battle and fight. The best thing is he's with us and that's probably the most important thing."

On how hard it is to tell Kuechly he won't be playing: "Very hard, because he's a football player, he wants to play, but again we have to make the best decision going forward. Not just for us now, but for the long term and his health is very important for all of us."

On if anyone showed him their small chances of making the playoffs: "Oh, yeah, without doubt. It is minuscule, but we'll take it because you just never know. It could happen."

On if getting eliminated from playoff contention determines Kuechly's playing time: "We'll see. Again, we have to take it as we go forward."

QB CAM NEWTON

On if the game felt like last season: "Yes, sir. For us, our challenge all year has been to play a complete game. You know, going into the fourth quarter most of the time with the lead, we had to keep our foot on the gas and stay aggressive."

On his pain from early hit in game: "Winning a football game kind of numbs a lot of stuff so we'll just have to wait till tomorrow to see how the body feels."

On LB Trent Murphy's hit: "I gotta be better than that. That just can't happen on my part. You know, I just have to let the referees do their job and I thought it was a questionable hit, but yeah, I can't throw a ball at a person. I know that's against the rules."

On the referees: "Next question."

On hits taken throughout the season: "In a position like that, everyone saw I was coming to the sideline and I was sliding. You know, I am not going to beat a dead horse, man, so I just can't retaliate in that way. I am better than that and I know I am. I can't jeopardize that type of play for my team."

On playing CB Josh Norman: "It was good."

On his goals for the rest of season: "Wins."

On RB Jonathan Stewart's performance: "Just typical Stew; he did an unbelievable job this week. He came in and wasn't in the best health. He had some type of contusion in his leg and the trainers did an unbelievable job in getting him back on the field. And for him to perform like that, that's the type of player we're going to need from him moving forward. He's a professional and the type of run game, like you say, sets the tone and we're happy to have that."

On the satisfaction of winning tonight's game: "We just wanted to come out and compete. Coach challenged us all as men, as players, as professionals to come out and do our job. We prepare and we come to work every day to win football games. That's what we tried to do today, and we did it."

On if he was surprised about not getting the helmet-to-helmet call: "Next question."

On what he saw on the touchdown pass to WR Ted Ginn Jr.: "It was a good read by Ted. Moving forward in the game, just making the in-game adjustments and Ted is a savvy vet and you want that from a quarterback to a receiver connection. Guys that understand the game of football, and not just thinking 'he's open', 'I'm open, throw it,' having reasoning. He called the play that he wanted and great results happened.

On wearing his tie after Head Coach Ron Rivera said he could wear his sweats: "Next question."

On why he is saying "next question": "What do I gain from it?"

On if his hat is for Craig Sager:  "Of course, yes. I wore this type of outfit because of Craig Sager. I didn't know him personally, I just admired him from afar. My heart goes out to him and his family for just a person that went against the grain. I respect that; being a person that looks at fashion to represent yourself or be able to explain or have some type of expression without even opening your mouth. Craig Sager was a person who was the ultimate professional and he lit up the TV screen when he came on the TV. Like I said, from a person who never met him, I admire him from afar and much respect to him and his family."

S KURT COLEMAN

On his moment with Redskins TE Jordan Reed: "It was a run play. I was trying to get him [Redskins TE Jordan Reed] off. He was trying to hold on to me. The play was dead…[inaudible], I was face mask, hit in the helmet. I don't know what you are going to accomplish with that. He's a good player, he really is. He's still learning but you can't take yourself out of the game in a crucial situation."

On if he saw that play coming: "If I knew it was coming, I would have protected myself. Tempers flare and things happen in the midst of a game. As a player you have to have the mindset and the control to not take it to that level."

On the play: "It was a run play. He was trying to block me and I was trying to get off the block. The play seemed over and I was trying to get off the block. One thing we work on is finishing. You don't let someone stay blocking you. You may be blocked but you don't stay blocked. So I'm getting him off me and he swung. I don't know what led to that point."

LB THOMAS DAVIS

On the pregame message: "The message was loud and clear, it was about coming out and competing. Playing our style of football, not quitting. We were never built like that. Not a team who is going to lay down against anybody. We heard a lot about they had playoff hopes and we don't. We heard all that stuff all week long. It was all about coming out and competing all week long. That is what we did tonight."

On how key was it to stop the run: "It's always important. First and foremost, it's always good to make a team one-dimensional. To take away the running game like we did tonight, it kind of forces their hand. It takes away the balance to an offense. So when we came out and established that, took the run away, it gave our guys and Wes Horton the time to get after the quarterback. You saw the play that he made coming out of halftime."

On winning games in December: "We are a team that believes in trusting the process. We believe in each other and we go out and compete hard regardless of the situation. That was what we were able to do tonight. We competed hard and came away with the victory."

DE WES HORTON

On playing against CB Josh Norman: "It was a lot of 'Josh Norman is coming back to play us.' We are used to that with the media. You guys are trying to get the big story. We were more focused on what we needed to do to win."

On what drove them today: "I think Coach [Rivera] did an unbelievable job of just getting the guys ready every single week. Every single week we have something to play for. He refuses to let us fold in because our playoff hopes are bleep. We are playing for a ton of pride and we are playing for the guy next to us."

On their playoff hopes: "I don't know what it specifically it is but I do know we have one. Even if we didn't have a playoff scenario, we are still going to fight to the end. Our objective is to go undefeated all the way to the end of the season. Playoffs aside, we are playing for pride."

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