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Carolina Panthers

Opposing View: Panthers vs. 49ers

49ers head coach Chip Kelly

On how the 49ers were successful against the Los Angeles Rams on Monday night: "I think overall we played really good team defense. Whenever you are defending a team with Todd Gurley, it's going to take all 11 guys. And I think our entire team on the defensive side of the ball did a really good job of keeping the ball in front of them, and I thought we did a good job of tackling." On if the Panthers defense is different without cornerback Josh Norman:"No, I thought they played well in the first game versus Denver. Obviously Josh Norman is a very talented player and you understand you can't keep all of your guys. As long as they have 58 (Thomas Davis) and 59 (Luke Kuechly), they're a really good defense."

His thoughts on the Panthers offense with the return of wide receiver Fozzy Whittaker:"Yeah, obviously Kelvin is an extremely talented receiver, but everything they do still revolves around the quarterback. There was a little bit more quarterback run than I thought we were going to see, but obviously when you have somebody like Cam (Newton), you know you want to try to run them. That obviously seems like that was part of their game plan for the Denver game. The designed quarterback runs, the quarterback counters, the quarterback powers - you saw those. You know you really have to be prepared for it because Cam is unlike any other quarterback in the league. He's a second running back back there, and the size of him - it's like an Eddie George that can throw. It's a tough task for any defense."

On if his offense presented an element of surprise when he first came in the NFL, but if now there is more of "a book" on how he runs his offense:"I don't. I think you change depending on who your players are and the personnel you are, just like everybody does. You just asked me two questions, 'How is an offense different when Kelvin Benjamin is in there?' and, 'Where's their defense different when Josh Norman's in there?'. I think part of it, for any coach in this league or the college level or whatever, is we are all driven by the personnel that is available to us. So what we have done here in San Francisco is different than something we did in Philadelphia because we have different players here."

His thoughts on how quarterback Blaine Gabbert is playing:"Blaine did a nice job in our first game. Even through the preseason, he's done a great job of protecting the football. For us as a group, for us to win, we've got to win the turnover battle. You know, we won the turnover battle on Monday against the Rams and obviously came out victorious, so I think Blaine is doing a really good job in terms of what we're asking him to do."

On if he has concern when Gabbert runs the football: "No, I think Blaine does a good job of understanding what we need to do. We talk about touchdown, first down, get down, time to take the hit. He's done a good job by-and-large of keeping himself out of harm's way."

49ers QB Blaine Gabbert

On San Francisco's success running the ball in Week 1:"I think the offensive line just did a tremendous job all game long. That's a talented front seven that we faced on Monday night. The holes that they were able to open up for the running backs and myself just show how hard they work throughout the week and how physical they played during the game."

On what he sees in the matchup with Carolina:"The previous week versus the Rams and now we're playing the Panthers – the front sevens are what makes the defense run. The front four up front on the defensive line are extremely talented, but their group of linebackers with Luke (Kuechly) and Thomas Davis, it's a talented group. It's going to be a challenge for us this week, but we're preparing hard, watching a lot of film and getting our bodies ready to play."

On what makes Chip Kelly's offense different than other NFL teams:"The thing is that you have to treat every play as its own. You can't let negative plays string together. You really have to have a clear, singular focus play in and play out because if you're not on it on every single play then bad plays can stack up. For the most part, it's getting conditioned in the offense. Just like every new offense, you have to learn the terminology, learn how to operate it and then it becomes routine and runs smoothly."

On if limiting turnovers is San Francisco's focus this year: "I think being a quarterback, you have to be cognizant of turnovers. You never want to put the ball in harm's way, but there are certain times where you have to take your shot and let your receivers go make plays. At the same time, executing this offense and keeping the offense on schedule, you can't turn the football over in the run game or the pass game."

On his pre-draft process and his visits with the Panthers: "Yeah, you have all the meetings and what not. You visit all the certain teams in that process and it's pretty wild just because you have so many visits in a short amount of time, but I always had great visits with Mr. (Jerry) Richardson and the coaching staff there and Coach (Ron) Rivera. I wish them nothing but the best, and they were great to get to know."

On the possibility of him being drafted by the Panthers instead of Cam Newton:"You never know how the draft is going to pan out. So many people have their input on who they think is going to go on. But at the end of the day, the team has to make the best decision for that franchise, and the Panthers went with Cam and that's just the way it played out. I was happy to get drafted there in Jacksonville. Draft night is such a toss-up. You never really know where you're going to go until you get your name called."

On what he remembers from the last time that he played in Charlotte: "I remember the tropical storm. I remember they had what, 12 or 14 inches of rain. I just remember looking up at the upper bowl and having the water pour down over it and then (linebacker) Daryl Smith having to carry (kicker) Josh Scobee out of the tunnel there at halftime just from the amount of rain."

On the difficulty playing in that game:"It was pretty wild. I think that was the wettest game I've played in. I think we actually ran out of footballs at one point just from them getting so waterlogged. It was fun. It was just like backyard football – making sure you get the snap, making sure you got the handoff and when you had to throw, just taking care of the football."

On if there are tangible examples of how he is feeling after "going through a lot" in his career:"I think just the maturation process as a player coming in as a young 21-year-old kid, playing quite a bit as a rookie and now being 26 and going into my sixth year, there's been a lot of snaps in the regular season, a lot of offseason practice, a lot of training camps that I've been through. Just the more reps you get at anything, the more comfortable you're going to feel. It was the same thing going into this offseason with the new offense, the new system and the new coaching staff. You have to approach things like it's day one and try to master it as fast as possible."

On if, at the pace they are playing, he can sense when a defense is starting wear down: "Well, I think any time in a game, the defense feels when the offense wears down and the offense feels when the defense wears down. Fatigue happens. But it's the offense's job to capitalize on the opportunities when they present themselves."

On if he has any stories or observations about Cam Newton from the NFL Combine: "No, that was such a long time ago. It was such a blur being there at the Combine with the meetings and the stuff on the field and what not. Cam has had a great start to his career and he had a tremendous year last year and he's fun to watch."

On if he thinks Cam Newton is treated differently due to his playing style and his size: "You know, I didn't get a chance to see those hits, but I've heard people talk about them. Yeah, I think there are certain times Cam doesn't get the benefit of the doubt because he is such a physically imposing player. I actually just saw one here on the TV watching this. It was an unfortunate hit, but Cam is such a competitive player. He wasn't going to let those take him out of the game. But definitely, I believe those should have been called. I think they were addressed here this week."

On if people underestimate his running ability: "Yeah, I just take what the defense gives me, as far as functional running goes. You've got to scramble to get a first down on third down, if you have to pull it on a zone read. Get your yardage and get down. Just execute the offense and keep our offense on schedule."

His thoughts on Charles Johnson's comments regarding him being a "nifty runner":"Yeah, running is part of the game. It's something that I don't take lightly because it is such an asset to any offense when the quarterback can break, contain* *and make a guy miss in the pocket and get four, five, six yards. Those keep your offense on schedule, keep yourself second and medium, third and short so you can keep the first down and drives alive."

View photos from the Panthers' week of practice leading up to their game against San Francisco.

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