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Game Quotes: Panthers vs. Steelers

*Head Coach Ron Rivera

On tonight's Game: "I was expecting to win first off. Anytime we step foot on the football field, I expect to win. We got what we were looking for I believe. We wanted to see guys get opportunities out there and take advantage of those opportunities and we saw it. Some of the receivers stepped up and some of the return men stepped up and did some things. We had a few guys on the offensive and defensive lines really play well and showed some poise for the young guys. I think we have some difficult decisions as we go through this process."

On Austin Duke and Jalen Simmons: "Given the opportunity to watch those young guys perform I think was really good. Jalen Simmons plays hard, runs hard. Unfortunately he lost that fumble but the young man played hard. He gave us an opportunity by running hard. I think Austin shows he has some speed. He is a young guy that still has ways to grow but he did some nice things and again he tried to take advantage of an opportunity."

On Linebackers Zeke Bigger and Ben Boulware: "I thought those guys played well, played hard. They made a lot of young mistakes when you watch it but this was their first real extended opportunity. I thought Zeke Bigger was all over the field. I looked at Ben Boulware and he got his opportunities at the end of the third and throughout the fourth. He handled it well. The thing that you always look for when you have a guy playing middle is how does he control things for you out there for you and I thought he did a nice job controlling it."

On if his opinion of Christian McCaffrey and Curtis Samuel changed after the conclusion of preseason: "I don't think it really changes my opinion on them. I think it excites me about who they became before us. I thought Christian showed tremendous versatility for us during these opportunities to play. He showed that he can run the ball from the backfield, he can get out in space and run routes and catch passes. He showed that he can be a threat. He looked good returning the punts. He only got a few opportunities but we feel very confident in who he is for us.  Curtis showed us his speed, his quickness, his ability to create separation and he can be an exciting player with the ball. I feel really good about what those two guys showed us. I thought Taylor Moton did a nice job growing, learning how to do things and how to make things happen out there as far as an offensive lineman. He showed some position flexibility with playing guard and tackle for us. I feel very strongly about him. Unfortunately Daeshon Hall got hurt and we didn't see him the last couple of weeks and we are disappointed in that. He has done some really good things as a young player for us. It would have been nice to see him get a few more opportunities."

On coin toss players having ties to Houston: "Very much so. Absolutely. Thinking about it, those three young men who are a part of what we do, I felt compelled to do it. I just felt that they represent their hometown very well. I'm very proud of who they are and I know those three men are trying to organize and do some things out there to do whatever they can to help the Houston victims."*

Tight End Greg Olsen On contract extension: "Obviously I feel very respected that they recognize that there was something that could be done, it was just a matter of finding out what that was for both sides. I think at the end of the day we found a good solution to it and I think it's a win-win for everybody."

On getting it done before the start of the season: "It's nice. It wasn't really going to have much of an impact on how I played, how I got ready for the season this last few weeks. Since we opened up camp it's really just been about preparing for the year and getting myself as ready as possible for the season. This is just the icing on the cake. To be done this far ahead of opening day and just go out and play, to do what I built my career on, that's what I am going to try to do."

On if the incentives are reachable: "I think so. They are all things that I have done before. A lot goes into it though, just because you have done it in the past, doesn't mean necessarily that it is going to happen again. Every year is part of a new story and I am going to do whatever I can to help this team be successful. If in the process you hit them, great, but obviously that's not the number one goal."

On how he feels about the team now after the preseason:"I feel good where we are at. We have some young guys that we have learned a lot about these last couple of weeks that have been good additions for us. I kind of like the mix of the veteran and younger player kind of dynamic that we have as a team in all three phases. Still, you never really know until you get to the real season, this is kind of different scenarios with people playing and not playing. When we have our full squad next weekend, we will find out a lot more about us."

Running back Cameron Artis-Payne On the offensive line's preseason performance: "The offensive line got great push all preseason long. We dominated up front."

On competing with the other running backs for a roster spot: "I did what I could do. There's nothing else I can do. Just relaxing. We'll figure it out Saturday."

On carrying this performance to the regular season: "Just keep working. You keep trying to get better. There are a couple things I wish I could have had back. You just go back to the drawing board, work on the little things and continue to grow."

Wide receiver Damiere Byrd

On carrying his preseason performance into the regular season: "Just continue to be consistent. Continue to be able to make those plays when they come to me. Continue to show everybody that I am a big playmaker and I can do the things that they need me to do."* *

On Carolina's offensive performance tonight: "I think we played well a majority of the game. We were able to score points. You'd love to score more than 14 points but I think everybody that was out there really gelled together and took advantage of the opportunities that we had."

Linebacker David Mayo **

On the defensive performance: "I think we did pretty good. They came out and they wanted to throw the ball early. And then obviously as the game went on they started picking up the run. I think we did good. We just played downhill. We are going to dive into the tape tomorrow and take a look at it."

On the interception: "I went to Teddy (Williams) and I said thank you after that. The ball just got tipped. I didn't really have to move. The ball was in the air, and I was like OK I just need to catch this ball. It was just a gimme, so I was really thankful for that. It was floating in the air for so long. I was happy that it came right to me."

On his preseason and filling A.J. Klein's role: "I try not to think about that too much. For me, I just try to focus on improving the game that I have. Every year, I feel a lot more comfortable just learning the defense and off of that just allowing me to play faster and think less which is allowing me to play better. (Linebackers coach) Al (Holcomb) has done a great job coaching me up and Luke and TD and those guys are always helping me out and it's helped me a ton."

Cornerback Teddy Williams

On his approach:"We go out and we play hard and we communicate and go out to make plays, and ultimately that was in the game plan. So whenever our number was called, Coach always tells us to be alert when your number is called. So when they call my number on the blitz or when the ball is thrown my way, I do what I can to make those plays."

On David Mayo's interception and his QB pressure: "It was a corner blitz, and I came around the edge on the tackle. The defensive line always talks about when they get to the point, they have to reach. I felt like I was a defensive lineman at the time, and I saw the quarterback right there so I just reached out as far as I could and I got a piece of his arm. Everything else is history after that. I didn't even know if I tipped the ball, I just hit his arm. I looked up and I saw David (Mayo) running with the ball, so I just tried to get a block for him."

On the play when he got hurt: "The tight end just caught the ball and I was coming back to make the tackle, and his knee went into my shoulder. Everyone thought that it was my head, but it was his knee in my shoulder. It was a stinger. It wasn't as bad. A lot of people looked at the play and told me it looked pretty bad and I flipped and all that stuff, but it was just a stinger. It wasn't a concussion or anything like that. I passed the test and everything was good. My shoulder kind of stiffened up, but I'll get some treatment."

View images from the preseason finale at Bank of America Stadium.

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