Opposing View: Detroit Lions

On facing Cam Newton as a first-year head coach: "One thing I would say about Cam Newton and playing against him here a couple times through the course of my career, he's one of the most competitive, tough players that is so difficult to play against for 60 minutes. I have obviously been in some really tight ball games with him and one in particular down there where they fought all the way until the end and won. Obviously I just have tremendous respect for the way that he performs, plays, and prepares, his athleticism, his toughness, and all the different attributes he has as a player. It's very difficult from a defensive perspective to try and handle him. I don't really see any difference from snap one until the end of the game. It's always a challenge."

On Carolina's defense: "I think this defense is phenomenal. Coach (Eric) Washington and Coach (Ron) Rivera...I have a tremendous amount of respect for Coach Rivera, what he is as a head coach, what he's done with defenses, as a player, he's someone I really admire. You know, I get an opportunity to speak to him maybe a couple of times a year, but I'm always trying to pick his brain because I think he does a phenomenal job. I think this defense has some outstanding players on it, obviously Luke Kuechly in the middle handles a lot of the communication and adjustments, he's an outstanding player that plays fast, he's aggressive, he diagnoses what the offense is going to do. He really communicates well with the secondary, with the front. Kawann Short is another guy that's just phenomenal inside, very disruptive player. Julius Peppers obviously, has been a phenomenal player for a long time, Thomas Davis, Shaq Thompson when he's out there is extremely fast. This front, this group, the back end, (James) Bradberry is doing an unbelievable job. I mean some of the assignments he's taken on this year with his responsibilities in coverage, matching up against the best players in the league, it's very impressive to me. I think they are an aggressive group. I think they do a great job of pressuring the quarterback in both the run and pass game. I think the blitzes and the blitz combinations that they've been able to incorporate into their defense have been phenomenal, and we're going to have our work cut out for us."

On what the addition of Damon "Snacks" Harrison has done for the Lions defense: "He's done a great job of coming in kind of midway through the year obviously and trying to learn our system and understand the techniques and the things that we're asking him to do from the inside defensive tackle position. I really...from a professional standpoint I mean…there is nobody better. This guy comes to work every single day, prepares hard, he takes great pride in what he does. He's an unbelievable resource for me from the standpoint of knowledge, to be able to kind of have conversations back and forth between techniques, and blocks and scheme and how to defend them. I just think he's really...he's really just done phenomenal job in such a short amount of time of being here of just fully indoctrinating himself into our defense and trying to help us inside."

On role of running back Kerryon Johnson: "Well with Kerryon, I think I've been pretty consistent all year on this, I think he's done a great job for a young player to come in and try to really understand what the NFL is like and to put himself in a situation where he's been asked to do a couple different things in multiple different roles. He's a real smart kid. He studies, he works hard. His preparation is really outstanding for a young player and he's obviously a talented young player, but he's still a young player. He's got a lot of learning to do. I think the addition of LeGarrette Blount and Theo Riddick and even Zach Zenner right now, Nick Bellore, have tried to help him kind of come along. I think it's really a group that I feel confident with, all those players out there on the field trying to be productive. It's certainly something I would say that recently in the last couple weeks we haven't done a good job, so I think all of us are taking a good long look and trying to figure out how we can all do it better."

On pass protection issues: "If it was one thing in particular that was really a problem I would think we would try to attack that and get it fixed, but unfortunately it's been kind of a multitude of different things that have gone wrong through the course of the last several games that have allowed us to not have a really good production or situation there. It's something that we're working hard to try and get right, but certainly it doesn't get any easier. Every single week it seems we just face more and more really good defenses and pass rushers and guys that give us a lot of problems. This week is obviously no exception to that, there's phenomenal players on Carolina's defense. It's going to be a big struggle for us."

On last year's Lions‐Panthers game, won by Carolina in Detroit: "Well again, it's a new season every single year. The teams are different, some of the players are the same on both sides and you always want to be able to take a look at the players and understand the scheme and the different things that they do well. I played Carolina last year also. I think it's just...like I said, Coach Rivera does a great job of preparing his team, getting them ready to play and they'll be ready to go this weekend that's for sure, and we're going to have a big challenge in front of us."

On comfort level going against Newton knowing you can never count him out: "It's really a great observation. I'm really unfortunately never comfortable in a football game. It doesn't really matter, I'm always alert and aware because I've seen too many things through the course of the years and there's obviously so many great players. Particularly, Cam Newton obviously, and that tremendous battle that we had years ago. He did a great job of leading Carolina to a victory. End‐of‐the-game type situation where we lost to them and like I said, they're just very dangerous. Cam Newton is a phenomenal player, he's got a great cast around him, Greg Olsen is another guy that has been there for a long time that's an extremely outstanding player, and he just does a good job of getting the ball to those guys. Obviously, the additions of (Christian) McCaffrey and (Devin) Funchess, all the guys that are around him that just make that offense go, it's a major problem."

Carolina leads the all-time series with Detroit, 6-2.

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