Opposing View: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

On Cam Newton's performance this year and the impact Norv Turner has had on him: "That would be impossible for me to say on how much of an influence Coach Turner's been on him, but there's no denying Cam is playing really good football right now. Playing good in all phases, percentage, completions up, interceptions down and still the best, the best running quarterback that's ever been. So, he's playing really well."

On how playing a division opponent changes things from a coaching perspective: "The way the schedule has worked out this year this is our third division game. We played all three on the road, so from our standpoint to get a division road win is a huge challenge, but you know, something we would love to do. You have two new coordinators but Coach Rivera, having been there a long time, running the same system, but every coordinator puts their own spin on the offense and defense. We definitely have familiarity with the personnel and they with us, but there's some new wrinkles on both sides."

On what challenges the Panthers offense will present: "Their passing game, they're doing a good job of getting the ball out quickly. That's maybe the most noticeable change under Coach (Norv) Turner, they're getting the ball out quicker. I think their route designs for the most part are designed for him to have quick answers and Cam's making quick decisions and any passing offense that helps your O-line. They've always been extremely well-coached on the offensive line, and even though they've had a couple injuries they're continuing to play at a high level."

On the Buccaneers' defensive performance so far this season: "Not where we need it to be. Like a lot of teams in the league we've had our share of injury issues and we haven't been able to put what we hoped would be our top eleven guys out there. But that doesn't matter in this league. You've got to go with what you got. We've got some young guys out there that are learning. We got some guys that are banged up and trying to fight through it, but that's just what you have to do."

On what changes he's seen in the Panthers secondary over time: "First off they've got a terrific front seven in front of them, that's going to help their secondary. That's going to help any secondary, to have that front seven in front of them. Right now with the group they have, two really experienced safeties who have seen it all in their career and they're making smart plays, hard to get them out of position. You know, as far as the corners, (James) Bradberry, definitely a guy that plays with a lot of confidence, has the length and athleticism to match the top receivers in this league. Then (Donte) Jackson is a guy we loved coming out in the draft. Quick to close, really good ball skills. Yeah, I've been impressed by him as a first year player, he's playing well also."

On any changes he's seen in Newton's throwing velocity since he's had a sore arm: "Man if he's got a sore arm, I'd hate to see the real deal. Cam's always had a cannon. I mean he can stand flat-footed and put that thing on a line. Like you said, I've been in this division a long time and arm strength is probably about the 159th thing on the list that you'd be worried about with Cam."

On what has enabled Ryan Fitzpatrick to have success at the quarterback position: "Number one, we feel like we do a decent job in protection as well. It starts with, everything starts with protection, and for sure that will be tested against the front we're going to see from Carolina. Second, at the wide receiver and tight end positions we have good players, we've got some good guys. What Fitz has done a good job of doing is going to the right spot and giving those guys a chance to make their plays, especially down the field. He's put the ball on the money and those guys have made plays for him."

On how having two successful tight ends can throw a defense off-balance: "We love our tight ends. We're playing three different guys, rotating them through there. We have two guys in the pass game, O.J .(Howard) and Cam (Brate), who can hurt a defense. We've sort of evolved into more of a three-wide team just because of our talent at wide receiver. We're going to mix those personal groups, along with some others. You're always trying to get your play makers match-ups that at least we hope are in our favor. Against Carolina's D it's hard to find those match-ups sometimes."

On what he's seen from Shaq Thompson and the rest of the line backing crew on tape: "It doesn't take a brain surgeon to see the strength of that linebacker unit. It starts off with (Luke) Kuechly and (Thomas) Davis has been doing it at a high level for a long time. Thompson, the youngest, the newest of those guys, but he can play like a nickel back if they need him to. He can play like a strong side linebacker. He can play like a weak-side linebacker. Very versatile player, speed, speed and athleticism and power. He's a good football player."

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