Opposing View: Panthers vs. Chargers

Chargers head coach Mike McCoy

On returning to Carolina after coaching here for nine years:"I owe so much to so many people. It starts with Mr. Richardson. George Seifert and Bill Musgrave were there at the time when they hired me but the opportunity Mr. Richardson gave me to start there with his organization and John Fox stayed and kept me there. I was so fortunate to be around so many good people, John Coleman and Jackie (Miles). I could go on and list a number of people who worked for the organization. Your guys' old boss Charlie Dayton – I mean there are so many great people in Carolina. We were very fortunate to be there from 2000 to 2008. A lot of the things I do today, I learned in Carolina. Coaches like Richard Williamson and all the great coaches I worked with, Dan Henning, I was very fortunate to be around so many great people in a great organization led by Mr. Richardson."

On lessons he learned as an assistant coach that he carries over as a head coach:"There are so many. I could go on and on. There's not just one. I was around two great coaches in George Seifert and John Fox. Obviously, completely different styles in the way they did things. I think when you coach as long as I have, now you're a reflection of all the coaches you've been around. You pick and choose a few things. I mentioned Richard Williamson and Dan Henning, a number of the other coaches I've been around. You kind of pick and choose some things. I'm very fortunate to have coached some great players – Jake Delhomme, Steve Smith, Steve Beuerlein, the list goes on, Muhsin Muhammad. There are so many great players. Now, still coaching against Steve (Smith) in Baltimore – with him and Angie and their kids, seeing them all grow up – I'm just very fortunate there are so many people. I still vacation with Jake and Keri Delhomme every summer. It was an unbelievable experience for those years I was there. So I owe so much to everybody there, whether it's coaches, players, people in the organization – like I mentioned the Richardson family and things like that."

On Carolina head coach Ron Rivera not starting quarterback Cam Newton in last week's game:"Well you have to make a decision on what you think is right for your team. As the head coach, that's your job and that's your responsibility to the organization. With regards to the first part of the question, yes, there's been plenty of decisions that come across my desk that I've got to make a decision on what to do with the team and you make those decisions. That's the role you're in so you've got to make tough decisions and you have to do what you think is right."

On multiple close games that San Diego has played in:"I think the parity in the league is so close. You look at teams and the difference between winning and losing isn't much on a weekly basis. It more often than not comes down to some play or some drive late in the game that a team makes or doesn't. You have to make those plays and there's a number of close games that we've been in like you mentioned. For one reason or another we haven't closed games out. I always like to go back and tell the players, 'It's not just one drive. Let's go back and look at the entire game and where was an opportunity that we missed.' Somewhere in that third quarter, we could've made it a two score game or a three score game, whatever that is. Same thing, coming down, everybody wants to get on a defense on a certain team because they gave up a two minute drive. Well, what if the offense converted that one play so the defense didn't have to go back out there. There's a number of different reasons this year that we have not made those plays at different times. You always look at it and evaluate it. You have to just learn from it and move on."

On coaching rookie defensive end Joey Bosa:"It's great to get Joey on the field with us. He obviously missed training camp and then missed the first four weeks of the season unfortunately. But the impact he's had on our defense was noticed in a hurry. The first game that he got in there against Oakland and what he did, it's been outstanding since he's been there. So very pleased. We all know the talent he had and how he was going to help our team. He loves football. He loves the game of football. You love having someone like him on your team. You see the day he got back this summer and then was ready to go here, you could see his commitment to being a great player. It was easy to see after watching the way he works on a daily basis, why he has been so successful."

On what Bosa's impact had been if he played in the first four games:"That's something I think that every game in football, there's always the, 'What if?' But you can't worry about that. We knew he was going to be out for some time. Who knows? You don't know that. You can always talk about it and you can always second guess something or try to question what we could've done. You don't know that. Everybody that was playing because he was not in there, I think did a nice job stepping in and making the most of their opportunity."

On San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers:"Philip's one of the best to ever play the game. The one word to describe Philip is special. His work ethic is second to none. His preparation and all those things – he's one of the first guys here. The way he is with his teammates. His knowledge of the game is through the roof. It's amazing what he knows about the game of football. He truly is a great competitor. He works his tail off every single day. He understand what it means to play this game and there's a reason why he's been so successful. I've only been here four years with him but it's one of those things. A player like Philip Rivers makes you work that much harder. Just because you know you want to give him as much information and give him everything possible to succeed because he deserves nothing but the best."

On Carolina linebacker Luke Kuechly:"He's one of the best players in the game. He's one of the best inside backers in the game and his impact. The way he makes plays – you just mentioned Philip Rivers and the passion he has for the game. Look at Luke the other night on TV. How much passion he has to try to help his teammates and how involved he is in the game. It's the same thing. This is what the great ones do. They have a burning desire to be successful. They have a passion to play the game. They show it every day they walk on the field. When they get in between those lines, there's a style of play and Luke's one of those players. You love watching him play, you love it. His attitude and the effort he plays with. The knowledge in the way he runs the defense out there, he's a special player."

Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers

On if he is looking forward to playing in Bank of America Stadium:"It's crazy. It's been since 2004 since we played there. I don't know what happened in 2008 and 2012 that Carolina came here both years but I'm looking forward to it. I don't get to go back to that area very often so I'm looking forward to it."

On his memories of the 2004 game:"You don't remember as much if you weren't playing! But what I remember is Keenan McCardell. We had just signed him that week – on that Wednesday I think – and he had six or seven catches in that game. I think he caught a touchdown. But I remember thinking of how much I was in awe of that because I couldn't believe it. It was more of those 'Welcome to the NFL' moments a little bit because I was like, he just got here three days ago and he's catching passes and playing for us. That's the first thing I remember."

On his memories of Raleigh:"It was a special time for our whole family really. My dad moved up there, mom, dad and brother, sister moved up there. The head coach there at Wakefield, those years that I was at school there, it was 30 minutes from campus. I was married and had our first daughter there so Raleigh is, and the experience playing there, Raleigh will always be a special place."

On if he thinks North Carolina State has become "Quarterback University":"With (Jacoby) Brissett getting the start in New England this year, we've had a handful of us in the past 10 years or so. It's a good place. A lot of people are not there anymore that were there when I was there, but there are still a handful that are still there that are a part of the staff and the administration. Time flies. I can't believe it's been since 2004 that I have played at Carolina. It just flies by – this is Year 13. It goes in a hurry as everybody always tells you and then you get to experience it yourself and it certainly has flown by."

On how he learned of quarterback Derek Anderson starting instead of quarterback Cam Newton last week:"I didn't catch it live. We always record the Sunday night game. We get home right about kickoff, if not a little bit late. We always play that 1 p.m. afternoon kick here on the west coast. We always watch the Sunday night game. My oldest son is eight and of course the girls and the other boy and my wife, we all kind of watch and hang out. It's more enjoyable after a win, not a tough loss like we had last week. I was riding home with my son, and I said to go ahead and start the game and that we didn't have to record it, let it start live and I'll catch up with it. I get there and he said as an eight-year-old, so no disrespect to Derek Anderson here, "Dad, the other quarterback came in and threw a pass the first play of the game." And I said, "What are you talking about?" I was like, "Come on, what are you talking about? No, he didn't." Later to find out but I didn't see it play out in real time. But obviously like everybody has seen about it, it is really unfair and inappropriate for me to comment on it other than seeing how it went down and how they handled it in-house and handled it the right way. I say the right way as pros as how they've handled it. What exactly happened and what's right and what should have, I'm certainly in no place to comment on that."

On Year 13 in the League and how much longer he thinks he will play for:"I honesty the way I feel, I feel healthy. I've had some ups and downs this year like every year. The last couple home games were where I struggled in the fourth quarter. But I kind of think if they'll have me around and I can still do it at a high enough level to give our team a chance, I don't plan on stopping any time soon. You just can't come back years down the road and do this. I still love the preparation part. I think also if I am healthy and I don't stop enjoying the process that will tell me something too. But I really enjoy spending all day in the meeting room and trying to figure out an opponent and the preparation part form Monday to Saturday. I do still enjoy that part of it. So hopefully I can stay healthy and still play well enough that they'll have be around and keep on going."

On the reports of the Chargers possibly moving to Los Angeles:"Well you know, we have a real young locker room, and some of the veterans that we have signed have not spent a lot of time in San Diego. Maybe 8, 9, 10 year guys, where San Diego is not really home to them. So you know, there is only a few us; Antonio Gates and Darryl Stuckey. He has a home back in the Midwest, so there are only a couple of us that live here year round that have been here for a long time, and really only Antonio and I.  So, it is not a huge chatter in the locker room, even though it affects everybody, not just the locker room, but the whole organization. So I don't think that it has become a distraction force in the locker room because there is just a not as big of a group of that has been here a long time. But, last year was kind of tough because we thought that it was the end and we almost said our goodbye's the last game, and then we find out we are staying and now it seems like the news is picking up again here this last month. So, I don't think that it has been a distraction, but it has certainly been a topic of discussion at my house. We are a young family and it's a place that we've called home for 12, 13 years. So we are just going kind of keep around and see what happens."

On the offensive key to making the playoffs:"The odds are long. The one part is you do have to win all four and then it's going to take some help from other teams. But our focus is to just to finish the fourth quarter of our season strong. We haven't been very good in the fourth quarter of games this year. Five of our seven losses we have had a lead in the fourth quarter and haven't won. So here we are in the fourth quarter of the season, so let's finish that fourth quarter of the season strong and certainly we want to win out and give ourselves a chance for the post season, but we want to take it one game at a time. We are coming off of a tough game against Tampa and Carolina is a good team. This team was 15-1 last year, and I know that they have some different pieces and some injuries, just like every team has and their record is not what they want it to be, or what it could be, I know, but it's a good team, a good opponent with playmakers on both sides of the ball. So offensively, I gave you the long answer to get to the answer to your question was, we have to protect the ball and it starts with me. We have to protect the football. In games where we either win the turnover battle or don't turn it over, we are going to win, most of the time. So that's what I think is the biggest thing for us is. Because we are doing some good things offensively, moving the ball up and down the field. Last week we had three 75-yard touchdown drives and all three of those drives combined we only had 1 third down. So we are moving the ball pretty good, but one pick six, and another turnover when we were about to score pretty late. And you look up and you have lost and that's what this game is about is making those crucial plays, not turning the ball over, and finding a way to win."

On the difference in the Panthers defense with Luke Kuechly:"Luke's a guy that I have a great deal of respect for as a person and a player. I got a chance to meet him at the Pro Bowl a few years ago and first I hope he's okay. I hope he is good and healthy and well. It would be crazy for me not to say that they are different with him in there. I mean you are talking about, to me, the best inside backer in the game and those two together, No. 59 (Luke Kuechly), No. 58 (Thomas Davis), are as good as it gets. I love the challenge of preparing for them and watching them on tape. But, I'll also watch the tape and say, "watch 58 here, watch 59 here." So, it's definitely different, and that's no disrespect to the others guys in there, 56 (A.J. Klein) in there at all. But if Luke's out there and Luke's healthy, it's certainly a better defense and again that's not taking away from anybody, that's just respect to Luke. We prepare as if he is going and really what changes in that preparation is nothing. We are playing that defensive scheme and they are still running the same calls, the same defense. But if he's in there at the level he's played at the last few years, we better be ready to roll." **On getting to know defensive end Joey Bosa: *"He's been really good. He plays so hard and he's just a heck of a player. He got off to a slow start, he got in here a little late and he had a hamstring that slowed him down a little bit, but once he got going, he's been a guy who's had a big impact for us. You know his demeanor, the guys love him, but his demeanor is what you would think in watching him play. It's a little bit, not cocky, but just kind of like he knows he's dang good. And he trots out there; he expects to be the best guy out there. That's just the way he goes about it and he works like that. So he's earned respect in the locker room quickly, because guys saw how hard he worked, how hard he practiced, how hard he played. So, he has been a good addition for us. Back in '05, '06, whatever the year we drafted (Shawne) Merriman, he had the offensive guys standing up wanting to see what he would do next, and it's starting to get like that here with Joey."

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