What is the challenge in preparing for two different quarterbacks without knowing who will start?
Obviously, Cam (Newton) brings a lot of dynamics with his athleticism. He's been a dominant force in this league for a long time, played through injuries and have done some amazing things. So we have to prepare as if he's going to play. Kyle is a guy who I recruited in high school, watched him in high school, and watched him at Texas A&M, Houston, all these places. Kind of followed him closely. Last year when he played, he played his tail off in that outing there in New Orleans, and this preseason I thought he was really impressive. He's a guy that's gotten better, and better, and better. If they go with him, we know we're going to have to bring our best game to find a way to win.
What did you know about Kyle Allen in high school?
I believe he was the No. 1 player, or quarterback, in the country. So just the ability to make all the throws at a young level, very mechanically sound, great accuracy, won a bunch of games. I have some close friends that coached at A&M while he was there, and they think the world of his character and the type of young man he is. I've always been impressed by him.
Have you watched any of Cam Newton's career debut at Arizona in 2011?
We haven't – I remember watching him as a fan, just how spectacular he was at a young age. I was blown away that he can step in and play at that high of a level, and then sustain that as long as he has. I think it's definitely unique. He's one of the best players to be in the league in the last decade or so.
What was your takeaway from Newton's NFL debut at Arizona in 2011?
I think the biggest take from afar – I remember watching it – is that I felt like Carolina's offensive staff did a phenomenal job of giving him concepts and taking some things of his play that allowed him to play at a very high level that early. As a rookie, if you're coming in and you're asked to do a trillion things at the line of scrimmage, and get the protection lined up, and do all these things, it definitely slows down the way you process, the way you get to your reads. They allowed him to just go out there and cut it loose and play, and put more things on the center. He did a tremendous job. As he's evolved as a quarterback, there's more and more on him, but his level of play hasn't really waned.
How has Kyler Murray developed so far?
We've tried to make him as comfortable as possible early and let him play his game. Some of the mental things will come later with reps as he gets comfortable with our system, but he was the guy coming in from day one. We didn't have time to have some huge learning curve and have him not play at a high level immediately. We definitely need that to continue.
How has Damiere Byrd looked so far as a Cardinal?
He's just gotten better and better. He's a guy who everything we've tried to teach him – technique wise, fundamentals – he's taken it to heart and he's worked at it. Great young man, high character, very conscientious player who works his butt off every day. He had some tough breaks with the injury – got that figured out. Playing at a high level, he's a tough cover. He's so quick and his routes have just improved dramatically. Really proud of what he's doing right now.
What are you seeing with Carolina's defensive scheme so far?
I think yeah, no doubt. They're doing a great job of mixing things up, mixing up coverages in the first two weeks, more so in the pass. They have such smart defensive players. It starts with (Luke) Kuechly who gets everything lined up and has such a great feel for the game and knows what offenses are going to run before they even run it. They're definitely more multiple than what I studied last year. I'm sure that's going to continue.
What are you doing to make Kyler Murray more comfortable?
I think for us right now, it's about making sure Kyler is comfortable with what we're running. He's a dynamic playmaker like you said. He can turn an average play into a great play with his feet, extending plays and taking off. My biggest challenge is each week getting good communication from him and knowing this is what I want to run, this is what I like, this is what I'm comfortable with. That's really our main concern. He'll make the spectacular play. He'll turn nothing into something for us. As long as he's comfortable and being able to process fast and react quickly.
Is there pressure on Murray?
It's a lot – from the first day that your drafted, you are the guy. There was no mentoring or any sort of situation where a guy was going to slide into it after a veteran guy had a run at it. It was all his show. I think he's handled it really well. He's a guy that wants the ball in his hands when the lights are on. He likes that type of situation. He likes the pressure. Any expectation the outside world can put on him falls very short of what he puts on himself. It makes it fun to be around him every day.
What have you seen from Christian McCaffrey?
That probably should've been the first question. He's a fantastic football player. Talk about your complete back – explosive, physical, great in pass protection, great out of the backfield, can line him up anywhere. He's a threat. We have to do a great job on him if we want a chance to win this football game.
Was there familiarity with Kyle Allen coming out of high school
There was – I told our beat writers this earlier – he was the No. 1 prospect in the country. We didn't have too many conversations. I didn't get too many return phone calls I think. He was a big-time prospect, very talented player, great young man, and it's been cool to see the success he's had in the league.