Game Quotes: Panthers vs. Bills

*Head Coach Ron Rivera


On the challenges of preparing the offense to face former defensive coordinator Sean McDermott: "It was tough. I know talking to Luke Kuechly, he and Mike Shula sat down and talked about what to expect and it was right along both lines. You have to give credit to Coach McDermott and his coaching staff on all phases of their football team. They played very hard, they played very physical and they are going to grow into a very good football team."

On the two missed end zone drives:"I would have loved to have the opportunity to put the ball in the end zone. We missed one. We took a big shot and dropped it unfortunately. We still gave ourselves an opportunity. We need to put ourselves in position to score points. It is tough to win in the league when all you do is kick field goals but again like I said, you have to give them credit because they played very hard as well."

On the defensive line performance:"I thought the defensive line was good. I thought they did a couple of really nice things. I thought they applied the pressure, they tried to keep this quarterback contained. This is a very elusive and dangerous quarterback. He forced us to do certain things to try and keep an eye on him which allowed some other things to happen. This was a bit of a chess match for us on the defense just because of the quarterback's ability. They have some tremendous weapons. As I said, as this team grows and develops their minds and believes in what they are doing, they are going to become a good football team." 

On the status of Greg Olsen:"I will know tomorrow. He is going to see Dr. Anderson. We will go from there. All I know right now is they put him in a walking boot. I saw him on the sidelines with the boot so we will see once he sees Dr. Anderson, I guess tomorrow."

On Cam Newton injury:"He twisted his ankle a little bit. He was on the ground. He just wanted to make sure he had a good examination before they let him move it."

On the offense:"We felt we could get the ball over the top. Again, they stayed tight on Christian McCaffrey. The unfortunate thing they mixed up their rush a little bit and got some pressure on our quarterback before those routes came open, before Cam Newton had an opportunity to release the ball. When he did have the time you saw the plays that were made. I thought both Kelvin Benjamin and Devin Funchess came up big for us in critical situations for some big catches. Very pleased with that. We saw Jonathan Stewart grind it out with about nine minutes to go. I thought he did an excellent job running hard. I thought the offensive line came together and blocked up front, did the things we needed to do to give ourselves a chance to kick that last field goal. That was big."

On missing Ryan Kalil today:"We missed Ryan. It's tough. You wake up this morning, come in and the first thing they tell me is he has a crook in his neck. They thought they might be able to work it out but unfortunately they just couldn't. We decided to go with Tyler Larsen. Tyler did an excellent job. But again, you like to have that steady, calm, cool hand in there but Tyler played a heck of a football game as well."

On how important is it for your team to hold on in such a low scoring game?"I think it is very important. I think it shows that we don't have to play at our best to win. We played hard. That's one thing. We didn't play as smart as we needed to at times. I thought we missed a lot of opportunities unfortunately. But again, they forced us to miss some opportunities. As I said, give these guys credit. This is going to be a good football team. People better not sleep on them. We have a lot of things we will learn from and hopefully our guys aren't as bad off as they could be. We will find out tomorrow how some of those guys are."

On Julius Peppers' performance:"Pep was awesome. I thought he played hard. The one thing is I think he has kind of found a niche here with us, the way we rotate our guys to try and keep these guys as fresh as we can to get them on the football field. Again, that's one of the things that's a big plus for our front. We are able to get guys in and keep them rolling to try and keep them as fresh as we can to get the pressure."

On the defensive performance during the first half:"Some of the things we did in terms of mixing the coverages. I thought Steve Wilks called a nice game. We ran different types of pressures. We ran zone pressures, we ran man pressures. We played zone coverage, we played man coverage. I thought we disguised well for the most part. We were trying to put these guys in position to have success, and early on we were able to do that. In the second half, I think they picked up on a couple of things, were able to block some things up. Also, the truth of the matter was their quarterback got active. He had a couple of big runs. They didn't really run a bootleg in the first half and I think they ran three in the second that resulted in some big plays for them. I have to give them credit. They came out and did some great things. We were able to adjust later on in the half and slow them down."

On limiting LeSean McCoy:"He is very dangerous. That was one of the things that when we came in, we felt that we had to be very gap disciplined against him. When he went out into the routes we had to make sure we had two, three guys coming to get him. We couldn't let him get out there on his own. I thought we did a nice job with that."

On the defensive Line:"They are growing together and getting used to each other. Peppers is a huge plus for who he is and what he brings to the table. But there is a synergy they have to develop and feel. The different combinations that coach Eric Washington uses is important but those guys continue to work together, practice together and get a good feel for one another."

Quarterback Cam Newton

On the Greg Olsen injury:"Well this is the NFL and you just have to know the next guy up. Obviously, you're tormented when something like that happens, but we still know we're going to have him at some point this year. I have full faith in Ed (Dickson) and guys underneath him are going to do their jobs. I know Greg is going to coach those guys up. But more importantly, I'm just so…I'm disappointed in myself, but happy for the overall team. Just to see how we battled and found ways to win a football game today. It wasn't pretty at all, but yet, you know this whole thing is about the process and trusting it. Coach spoke on it and you know anytime in this league you can get a win you take it and you run with it. So you know we're not going to apologize for that. I just have to know as a player and personal challenges to myself that I have to be better and I will be better."

On why specifically disappointed in himself:"Just the accuracy and just knowing that…the expectations that I have for myself. Missing layups like that, it's uncalled for. I wish I had about two or three balls back, but that in every single game. You know with those balls completed the outcome of the game is potentially different. But again, that's the nature of the beast. I'm not going to be a pessimistic person about this whole thing. I'm just excited that we found a way to win the football game relying upon our strong, stingy defense. We've just got to get ready for New Orleans next week."

On what was out of kilter with offense:"We just have to score. It was really nothing out of…let's speak facts. Any time you control the ball for that long you know you're doing something right. You know we had key injuries with two captains, with Greg as well as Ryan (Kalil). We just have to find ways to just put the ball in the last rectangle on the football field. That's all it comes down to. It wasn't like we were stagnant on offense. We were moving the football. We've just got to find ways to move the ball or you're going to get your coaching staff that's oh so familiar with what you do, what you like to do, that pretty much has your own playbook at their disposal. That can become a challenge in itself, but yet through it all you still have to find ways to win a football game and we did."

On being too excited when throwing to Dickson and McCaffery as Rivera said last week:"I don't know what it was. It was incomplete. No matter how I was feeling I can't keep having those little mishaps. Let me check myself. I just have to trust the whole process. Even though we see what's going on, I see what's going on and it's not happening the way I want it to happen, I know in the back of my mind things are going to get shaking. As we're going right now things are already shaking the way we want them to. We're good. I'm good. Just knowing what my expectations are for myself, it starts with me. As this team leader, knowing offensively it's my job to put points up on the scoreboard. We didn't have a touchdown today and I'm disappointed in that. We'll get better and I know that."

On if Panthers game plan changed after blitz plays:"It wasn't about changing the plan, it was about staying on rhythm. We know that defense likes to bring different exotic looks when the down and distance are favorable. We can't be in 3rd and 8 or 3rd and 12 or 2nd and long and be expecting good things to happen or for them to stay soft in coverage. We knew that. We just have to stay on top of that moving forward."

On if McDermott calls frustrated you:"I wasn't frustrated. It wasn't anything that he did to frustrate me. These were self-inflicted frustration things. Sean McDermott has an unbelievable defense – very stout up front. Guys in the secondary that can make plays and will make plays. Hell, you've got guys in the secondary that were with us all last year, so anytime you're with a person multiple year, six years to be exact, he knows things that can ruffle the lines feathers. But at the end of the day there was nothing that we weren't prepared for. That's an attribute to great coaching and just a great week of practice. Through it all I have to be better and I will be better and I will. That's where the frustration lies in myself."

On what will be missing with Greg's absence:"We won't miss anything. Granted, Greg is an extremely key artery for our team, as well as this offense, but Ed (Dickson) is ready to blossom. He's a diamond in the rough. I don't want to put too much on Ed, but he's be making plays for us – very subtle over the years. That's why he's been somewhat of our unsung hero over the years and hopefully, not hopefully, we are going to be expecting big things for him and knowing he's going to pick the gun up and keep shooting."

On having Ryan Kalil out after warmups:"That was weird. That was really weird, but yet you've just got to roll with the punches. Bucky (Tyler Larsen) had a great game and just knowing that the confidence is in him in that situation or anybody else moving forward, they are well prepared and ready for the moment."

On if he was confident he could come back after ankle injury:"Man, it was scary. I didn't even want to say what I thought happened. When you hear it crunch up, the cartilage that was moving, just knowing when you get the blood back flowing and you start walking on it, you just gain confidence in it. That was big for us. I felt great, we felt great in that last drive. We were moving the football. That's Panther football at its finest. We just have to find a way to get the football in the endzone inside the 5 yard line. There is no excuse that can fix this one. I know Coach Shula, Coach Dorsey and Coach Rivera will be scheming things up and I'm excited for it. It all starts with me. If I complete that pass we're having a different tone in this interview. I'm optimistic for the future and things will get better."

Defensive End Mario Addison

On if they run anything you were not prepared for?"I know Sean McDermott. I knew he was going to send everything, and that is what he did."

On Tyrod Taylor:"We know he is a mobile quarterback and he can extend plays on the run. We have seen him rip up defenses all over the league. One thing about us is that we swarm, and that is what we did to try and contain him."

On what was the thought process at the start of the last drive:"We always know defense wins games, that is our philosophy. We had to close it out, if they don't score then they don't win. That was our mindset coming out on that last drive. We had to do what we had to do to stop them and we did it."

Linebacker Luke Kuechly

On not allowing big plays:"I just think guys take a lot of pride in doing their job and making sure where they're supposed to be in a given play, they're there. We bottled those guys up for the most part. They rushed hard, Tyrod [Taylor] got out a few times, but that's what happens when you play a guy like him, he's going to get out every once in a while. But we were able to keep a net around him, we were able to keep them from running the ball too much so I think it really has to do with the guys up front and they played great today."

On the defense coming up big in the first two games: "It's a team game and we played well on defense today. You'd like to get some more turnovers out when you play a good defense, it helps a lot to get the ball out and give them a short field. I thought we did a good job kicking the ball today, I thought Mike [Palardy] did an excellent job of pinning them back and we covered great. That's what makes this game so fun is there are three phases and when one phase isn't playing up to what they want to do, the other phases step up. Since I've been here, we've had games where we play great in all three phases, some games where we play poorly on defense and the offense picks us up, so there are ebbs and flows every season. Those guys will be fine and I'm sure at some point this season, they're going to pick us up too."

On Greg Olsen:"I don't know what his consecutive game total is at but it's a lot and he takes a lot of pride in that. He takes a lot of pride in his body and he's going to do everything he can to get back. He'll still be around, I'm sure he'll still be very involved. I'm not exactly sure what's wrong, but I know he's going to get back out there as soon as he can."

Center Tyler Larsen

On when he found out he was going to start:"I found out right after pregame warmup. So walking into the locker room is when I was told."

On communication with the other offensive linemen:"A lot of it. I have to make sure I have all five guys, and the running back, on the same page. There is a whole lot of communication going on throughout the entire game."

On Buffalo's defense:"They have a solid defensive front and the linebackers are flying around all the time. I personally think it is a true reflection of what our defense is. They have a very tough front and they are going to be successful this year."

On if he was surprised when Cam Newton returned to the game:"No. We know Cam is a tough guy. He took a couple hits and kept getting back up. The last drive, he kept going and you would not even have known he had an injury."

Kicker Graham Gano

On supporting the team today:"It's a good feeling. Everyone is doing their job out there. Offense does a good job of putting us in good positions. They are all important. That's how we look at it. Our guys, we just have a great unit. Good guys out there blocking for me. J.J. [Jansen] and Mike [Palardy] do a great job."

On his play standing out this season:"I appreciate that. I feel pretty good. Just trying to chop away and just one kick at a time, trying to help the team win."

On the feeling after this win:"We've got a lot of great guys. We have a lot of character and take a lot of pride in this. There are teams wins and there are individual wins for guys. So that is probably what you saw. Guys want to go out there and have a perfect game. Sometimes it doesn't happen and that will fire you up. We've got a lot of great guys on this team. Wins are hard to come by in this league. Coach Rivera was saying that and I think everyone in here is proud. We will take a win in here any day."

Left Tackle Matt Kalil

On tough day for offensive line:"They are good at what they do. They got us a few times and that's just how it goes. We got to clean some things up and prep some more in practice settings and get better."

On thoughts when Cam was down:"I mean it's not good. Obviously as a left tackle, you will have plays when you will get beat like I said. Can't dwell on them like I said, otherwise those guys will smell that and it will only get worse for you. You kind of got to have short-term memory and get over it. Obviously, it bothers me. I don't want to give up a sack at all. Just something I can watch and get better and better. I'll get better from here. I'm not worried about it. Some things I can obviously fix and just improve from here."

On not having his brother Ryan Kalil out there:"We all work together with our calls that we do. Tyler works with Ryan a lot so I don't think it had anything to do with that. He knows his calls and is a smart guy. He knows what to do when he is in there. It's just one of those things where we had some penalties in there and didn't execute on some plays. Like I said if you look at the stats, our time of possession is saying when we get in the red zone we got to finish. It could have easily been a three or four touchdown game by us. We finished some drives with some field goals. But I think Cam is getting into his groove again. He threw for a lot of yards. He is only going to get better from here. Obviously as an offensive line, we will get better." 

On not getting into the end zone:"Like coach Rivera said, it's not easy to get wins in this league no matter who you play. We want to enjoy this win. At the same time, we want to improve on what we didn't do so well. Also we want to improve on what we did do some well. That's all we can do and get better."

Cornerback James Bradberry

On Carolina's offense:"Offense is just a rhythm game. The more games we play and the more games we have, it's going to get better."

On the last drive of the game:"Coach was telling us play off because we wanted to keep everything in front of us. It was kind of nickel and dimes us down the field. They threw some screens and stuff. Then the last play, I got beat. I have to stay in the lead and make sure nothing gets behind me."

On Buffalo's final offensive play: "I saw him throw it and I thought someone was going to be behind me. That is my fault. I have to stay back. If he would have caught it, I would have been hurt. I probably would have cried. Fortunately, he didn't catch it."

Linebacker Thomas Davis

On what he saw on the last play:"You saw [Tyrod Taylor] speed out. It was a lot of options that they had from being spread out like that. Our d-line did a tremendous job all day on putting pressure on the quarterback. On the back end, we have to do a better job of executing. We can't allow guys to run free like that. It could have been the difference in the game but it happened to not be."

On his thoughts on seeing the receiver that wide open:"You hope that he drops it. That's exactly what he did. We came away with this victory. We go back and watch film and correct that mistake and we will keep it moving."

View the top photos from Panthers vs Bills by team photographer Melissa Melvin-Rodriguez and second shooter Jamey Price.

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