Opposing View: Panthers at Buccaneers

Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston

On his relationship with Cam Newton: "It is about how good he is. I am always blessed that him, (Michael) Vick and other African American quarterbacks before me have helped pave the way for younger black quarterbacks to make their way in this league. The things that he does are just amazing. I have been watching him ever since he was in college at Auburn and I have been amazed with him ever since."

If he has kept up with former college teammate Kelvin Benjamin: "I actually FaceTimed him yesterday. We talk weekly to keep our relationship going. I hate that he can't play in this game. I told him it was good for our defense to just try to keep him up, man. I can't wait for him to get back out there. That is obviously one weapon that Cam (Newton) doesn't have to use against us. I really would've loved to play against an old teammate, but we've got time for that."

His mindset as he tries to beat the Panthers: "We are just trying to play our best football. We have to do our job, not turn the ball over and try to play our best football. We know they have a great team, great defense, great offense and they are the Division Champs the past two years. We are just going to try to do our best and go out there and compete."

On Carolina's defense: "They make you make smart decisions. Sometimes you have to check it down and you have to take every play that you can make. You need to make it because it is going to be a long, hard-fought game because they are a disciplined, solid defense and have great players."

Preparing for Josh Norman: "He is an amazing player. I have just been sitting here watching film on him. I looked him up and I was like, this is his contract year. He is trying to get paid. He is definitely playing well, we just have to stick to our game plan. We have to execute and try to move the ball down the field. That is not the only good player you all have on your team. You have Thomas Davis and Luke Kuechly. Those guys are the best guys in the league. It is going to be a tough one. Even Roman Harper out there and Charles Tillman. There are veterans everywhere. This is a tough defense, man."

Tampa Bay head coach Lovie Smith

On Jared Allen changing altering preparation: "As far as our preparation you have to plan for a good defensive end at the position, but we know who Jared Allen is, believe me. I've been on the other side of the field for quite a few games. He's been a great player in our league for a long time. He still plays at a high level, so the Panthers are a better defense with him there. We've heard the news."

On what he sees in the Panthers defense: "One of the best defenses around. Stop the run, playing the pass, just in general so you have to start with that. Of course I know some of the players a little better than others. Any defense with Charles Tillman on it you have to really protect the football, got to start with that. Any defense with a player like Josh Norman and how he is playing, and of course, I assume Luke Kuechly is playing, he is one of the best linebackers around. Thomas Davis. We could go on and on. They have a lot of good players and they are well coached, so we will have our hands full."

On preparing for Cam Newton: "Cam Newton is one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL, period. He can do it all and when you play a player like him that's an athlete like that, yes you have to play him a little differently. He's not your prototype in the pocket drop back quarterback, even though if he wanted to be a prototype stay in the pocket type quarterback I think he would do it as well as anybody. But he's mobile and when you're mobile you have to have more eyes on him and just know that you can't just leave him because he can beat you with his legs also."

What he sees in Josh Norman: "He's a competitor. Plays hard every down, can play man coverage. Has good hands, of course he demonstrated that in the game last week against the Saints. Just a top cornerback. Both of the Panthers cornerbacks, I talked about Charles Tillman earlier, are good football players. We have good wide receivers so that's definitely one of the keys to this game, that matchup."


View photos from the Panthers' week of practice leading up to their game versus the Buccaneers.

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