Postgame Transcripts: Week 11 vs. Washington

HEAD COACH MATT RHULE

*RE: Opening Statement *Credit to Washington. Credit to Coach Rivera. They came in here and played an excellent game. Played very much the way that they played last week against Tampa Bay. They were able to run the football. They had 190 yards rushing. When that happens typically we haven't played really well. They were excellent on third down, converting 46%, really 50% of their third downs. Offensively, I thought we had some good moments. But it was really a tale of penalties and our 3rd down conversions not really being what it needs to be. Obviously, a disappointing loss for us versus a quality team. I thought Terry McLaurin for them was excellent. I thought [Taylor] Heinicke was excellent. A lot of credit to them. With that, I'll see what questions you have.

RE: Thought process on 4*th* down late in 4*th* quarterAnalytically, you should punt that ball. You still have three timeouts. Started to go punt the ball and then just because Cam [Newton] doesn't truly know the two-minute as well as maybe you would like. I said hey, I have Christian McCaffrey. They haven't stopped him all day. Let's take a shot at it. Still knew I had the two-minute warning and knew kind of like how it played out in the end where you get the ball back with a minute and a half if we needed to go down and score a touchdown. First started going with probably what is traditionally football wise what you should do then just said, hey, lets give these guys a shot to go make a play. I thought they would make the play. We made it. We just came up half of a yard short.

*RE: Defense today *Just didn't stop the run. Didn't get off the field on third down. Didn't seem like we had great, great communication at times. Too many mistakes. Held them to 3 of 6 in the red zone but 2-minute defense at the end of the half let them go down and score was really disappointing when we had the lead at the time. Just certainly not our best day defensively.

*RE: Common threads in the run defense from previous games *No, just when we are not disciplined, when we are not in our gap, when we are not (inaudible) the line of scrimmage, when we are not tackling now. We were very clear coming into the game that we knew they were going to run the football. They are one of the better teams on third down. They were going to run the football and try to be in third and manageable, convert third downs. We couldn't get off the field on third down. Had a hard time winning versus man. Then just couldn't stop the run.

*RE: PJ Walker and Cam Newton *We planned on playing PJ going in but it seemed like Cam was in control. It seemed like he was moving the football. I think the coaches just decided, hey, he's hot. We only had one drive in the third quarter I believe. They did a nice job. They had such long drives that part of it just didn't' go the way we wanted it to in terms of getting off the field on defense. But, we thought Cam was playing well so we kept him in there.

*RE: Common denominators on penalties *The holding calls obviously. The second to last drive, when you asked me about with 4-minutes left. We start off 2nd and 2 and we are up and running and we have a holding call by Taylor Moton on the right side. Just too many penalties. The late hit on the quarterback for us. I couldn't say there is any one common thread. I mean, a lot of those happened up front on the offensive line today it felt like. It's just hard to execute on offensive when you get a good play and you think you are 2nd and 2 and you are actually 1st and 20. Just not really good right now.

RE: 4*th* down play on the final possessionThat was an out route to DJ [Moore] just hoping he wins. If not, you have Robby [Anderson] running the shallow. Or to Christian [McCaffrey], DJ, Robby – so its really an opportunity to progress through and go through everything. It looked like Cam [Newton] saw a window to take off and guy fell off the block and made the tackle. Really on third down, we had that little option route to Christian that he elected to throw the ball to. A little stroke, we almost had it. Those are those moments we just need someone to step up and make a play. Those same moments for them – we had them 3rd and 25 and they made some plays. Credit to them. They made plays today. You can only talk so much. At some point you have to go out and make those plays. I think all of our guys understand that. We had a chance to make some. We just have to make them.

*RE: If he could see if DJ Moore had a step on his defender on the Panthers final play *I couldn't see that. No, he is on the far side of the field.

*RE: Cam Newton handling what you gave him this week *I thought Cam was excellent. He managed everything. Maybe one communication error in the first half. He got through the progressions. The throw he made to Christian was elite I thought. For where we are, for being a week into it, I thought he did a nice job.

*RE: Did you consider putting PJ Walker in? *We talked about it. But if felt like Cam had brought us that far, just let him go. When I say graps, he just doesn't have a lot of experience in it, right. So the thought of having the ball with four minutes left, made me decide to go for it.

*RE: Consideration to use Stephon Gilmore more *We are trying to work towards that. I don't know if we are there yet but we are trying to work towards that.

*RE: Is it because of coming back to play? *Just returning the play, yeah.

*RE: Disappointment in not winning at home *Very disappointing. The team we have been the last two times on the road has been awesome. At home – we are just not playing well. It's obviously, just me personally, I go on the road, I play in front of strangers. We come back here family, friends, my daughters are at the game, my son is on the sidelines, I want to win. I know our players want to win. Washington wanted to win too. So you have to play well. It's all about execution. All this talk about all this other stuff doesn't matter. Just go on out and executing. I say it and maybe it sounds a little uncool but it is as true as the day is long. You can be as hyped up and energized and energetic and excited as you want. If you grab somebody and hold them, they throw a flag. We have got to continue to grow as a team, understanding down the stretch in November and December to win these games, everybody is trying to win these games. We have to play better. We have to play well. Nothing more than that.

*RE: First quarter low snap – designed that way or bad snap? *No, it was a bad snap. That's kind of what I'm talking about. We had a good play we thought we would get a first down on and it was a bad snap. That's some of the same execution errors that we are kind of talking about.

*RE: What contributed to the offense's lack of explosiveness today? *Penalties and being behind the chains probably. Seven yards per attempt I would probably live with that most times. We just need to run the ball a little bit more. Be on the field a little bit longer. Get people tired. I think then you have the chance to have the catch and runs, the explosive plays. We just shot ourselves in the foot in my opinion too many times. Obviously losing Dennis Daley early on also kind of… I thought Brady [Christensen] stepped in and did a nice job at left tackle but that was a disappointment for us as well.

*RE: What do you feel you eliminate by Cam Newton only being here a week? *No limitations from Cam. I thought we called the game. We don't have those penalties, we don't have the bad snap, we don't have some of those plays, I think we are kind of talking about a different game. It's kind of the way we have been all year. We are just kind of in that stage of growth where we do some good things. We show we can do them. We are just not consistent with them. It's pretty consistent with what I've said. We know we can win, we just have to win consistently. That's just a relentless accountability to doing our job at a standard. We just have to continue to grow to get there. Typically, its been masked a little bit because our defense has played better than they played today. Today, defensively, we, obviously, couldn't get off the field.

*RE: Crowd at stadium today *I think the crowd was awesome, you know. I thought the crowd was awesome. I thought the energy in the stadium was awesome. As I've said, its our job to play well so the people are energized and enjoy the show. Obviously, it was a good football game but we have to play it better.

QB CAM NEWTON

RE: The fans today

They upheld their end of the bargain, we just have to do our part. The energy in there was electric. It was good juju in there, but characteristics as a team, we have to be better. Third down, gotta-have-it situations. Coach had his keys of victory that we didn't execute in its totality throughout the game, and that's pretty much what it comes down to. I did challenge the fans, the fans came, they saw and they supported. Having an atmosphere like that in games moving forward in November and December, you know, it's pretty much going to come down to execution and we didn't do that enough as a team here today.

RE: What was your assessment of how you played today?

We didn't win.

RE: Not having the full grasp of the playbook of the two-minute

Yeah, it's still learning, it's still learning. Being able to be out there and just get completions is something that every two-minute is predicated off of, doesn't matter what system you are in. It is just the little minute things when you come down to signals and things like that. I just have to get in the book and really kind of grasp it.

RE: Lack of success on third down

It's unacceptable, it's unacceptable. Coach brought that up early, mentioning early in the week, that it was going to come down to early success in first down, third down conversions and staying on the field offensively, and defensively getting them off the field. And from what I saw, we did none of those things. It's all about accountability and I am going to speak on what I can control, and offensively we didn't uphold that today. I don't know the numbers, I just know the percentages are extremely low. Winning football, playoff football like that, you have to convert, you have to play better complimentary football. We had flashes today, when we did. I think they are a great team, obviously we know who Coach Rivera is. He had those guys dialed in and ready to go. Scarface [Taylor Heinicke] played a hell of a game and not to mention, unbelievable execution right before the half. They stole 14 points without the offense having their say so in it and that's the key to victory. Last time the offense was up, we were 14-7 and then when we got back on the field it was 21-14. That's winning ingredients. I know guys in the locker room enough, so far that, they are going to accept the challenge and come back and really be dialed in here moving forward. We can't labor on the obvious, we loss. Ok now it's time to move forward and look in the mirror first, which I am, and find ways to execute better.

RE: Can you walk us through the two fourth down plays at the end

You ask any coordinator in the league, you ask any player in the league, we're trying to put the ball in our guy's hands. That's no disrespect to anybody else. But went to CMac [Christian McCaffrey], just came up a tad bit short, and then the last one, it was just lack thereof of execution. I believe DJ [Moore] won, so it's my job to deliver the football, I hesitated and that's all it takes for a team like that to kind of swarm you. You know we just have to get better, we have to do better. It is a lot of people that's knowing each other, it's a lot of situations that come up on hand. Outside of all of that, it's still football.

RE: Why did you decide to run to midfield today?

Today was a special day for me, for more reasons than one. It was my resurrection day. Not that I am sure a lot of people know, November 21st is a very special day for me. I took a big L in my life, I feel like. It was a big scar that ended up being my biggest star. I was incarcerated today. When I was in the University of Florida and this day is always significant of where I came from. I was just going to enjoy the moment, still am going to enjoy the moment. I think my life could be, who knows where right now if the judge ruled, the way she did, he did, I'm not sure. Man, God had favor over my life and that's the big picture. The realization of things that you could control, you know, I am enjoying the moment and we just, I have to be better.

RE: Did you get a chance to talk to Coach Rivera before or after the game?

Not really. We spoke very brief, but it ain't too much to say. I'm not in that warming mood right now, I'm not going to lie to you. I think that's what growth is. I wish him and his team the best, but you know, I knew what it was with him, he knew what it was with me. It is what it is but I am happy for him, I'm happy for his team. They are a good team; their team is not kind of predicated on their record because they had two back-to-back wins now. That's them, for us here, we just have to find ways to sustain the standard. Coach says it best, it's really going to be down to our leaders kind of stepping up and holding people accountability and starting with themselves.

RE: Moving forward, what do you feel you have to improve on to give this team a better chance to winning?

Gotta-have-it situations and third downs. We know what we have offensively from 11, 2, 22, 1, 82, we got enough juice. It's just really going to take, not to mention 30 and 20, there are a lot of guys in that locker room that are capable of making plays. It's just really going to come down to grasping and understanding and executing.

RE: First full game played, how do you feel physically and mentally?

It felt like my chest was about to explode a couple of times, but all in all it was warming. I just appreciate the fans just for coming out and showing their support man. For everybody who, these last couple of days have just been overwhelming. My prayer was pretty much that I hope I could just keep it in the road, man. But I wanted to enjoy the moment today. It didn't turn out the way I wanted it to or we wanted it to, but yet we can learn from it. We have to realize that nobody is going to lay down. I didn't expect that, I know a lot of other guys didn't expect that but it's still going to come down to us executing the given plan. For me, I am excited what the future holds and it's going to start with us tomorrow and going over the film and locking in and doing that as best as we could.

RE: Did you spot any of the Cam inspired fedora's during warmups?

Aww naw, I really couldn't, but I know a lot of stees was in the building. Man, just hold on, just hold on. Trust man, and we are coming together. I hope and pray that guys got away from the game with not being injured, but yet we know what we have in the locker room and it's going to be us that's going to get us to the next point along with a group of people, men, women, child, everybody, all hands-on deck. Yeah this one hurts but you know, that's the obvious. I think tomorrow is going to be a good way for us to really dive in and see what we need to improve on, improve on it and get ready for Miami.

RB CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY

RE: What are some ways that he thinks the team could've done better

Not beating ourselves is the theme I think you'll probably hear a lot. It's the same every week. I think we're a team that controls a lot of our own destiny and sometimes we get in the way of that. That's just got to change. We have to have a sense of urgency this week in practice of not beating ourselves and that starts with the little things. At the same time it's attention to detail. It's 53 guys pointing the thumb at themselves and I believe every single individual affects winning. I believe that I affect winning, so I'll look at the things that I did wrong and fix them and move on. That's what this game is all about.

RE: Things he's seen this team do that give him optimism that they can make a playoff run

I've always been an optimist about this team. I've always believed that we can win every single game we play, but you got to do that. That doesn't just happen on Sunday. There's a lot of preparation that goes into it and there's a lot of details and focus. It's all the little things that makes any team or business successful. It's just doing the little things right all the time, 24/7. Whether it's tomorrow in recovery, whether it's Wednesday in practice, Wednesday lift, whatever it is, those little things make the big things happen. It's not one play, it's not one person here or there, it's a group effort.

RE: Having Cam Newton back at home

The energy was great. Anytime he's in the huddle the energy's awesome. It's good to have him back.

RE: How he thinks they ran the ball today

I thought we ran it well. The called runs that we did call, I thought we ran it well. You know, we didn't have a lot of opportunities to run it. They won time of possession. We have to stay on the field. We can't go three-and-out. Penalties are obviously a thing that we have to change. Just staying efficient on first down and then obviously third down is big. It allows you to continue to run the ball and continually do it. But we have to find ways to convert on third down. Every game there's themes. We can't turn the ball over or it's got to be better on third down, but at the end of the day it's just consistent execution and doing your job. Obviously looking at myself it's not just making the catch but winning the route and making the catch and getting more faster and not getting tackled on certain plays. It's just time to level up.

RE: How frustrating it is to not be able to win at home during a playoff push

We're still in the race. Obviously it's frustrating. It's frustrating to lose anywhere whether it's home or away. But you treat them all the same, win or lose. You get back to the drawing board, you correct the mistakes, you capitalize on what you're good at and you keep moving forward.RE: What are some ways that he thinks the team could've done better

Not beating ourselves is the theme I think you'll probably hear a lot. It's the same every week. I think we're a team that controls a lot of our own destiny and sometimes we get in the way of that. That's just got to change. We have to have a sense of urgency this week in practice of not beating ourselves and that starts with the little things. At the same time it's attention to detail. It's 53 guys pointing the thumb at themselves and I believe every single individual affects winning. I believe that I affect winning, so I'll look at the things that I did wrong and fix them and move on. That's what this game is all about.

RE: Things he's seen this team do that give him optimism that they can make a playoff run

I've always been an optimist about this team. I've always believed that we can win every single game we play, but you got to do that. That doesn't just happen on Sunday. There's a lot of preparation that goes into it and there's a lot of details and focus. It's all the little things that makes any team or business successful. It's just doing the little things right all the time, 24/7. Whether it's tomorrow in recovery, whether it's Wednesday in practice, Wednesday lift, whatever it is, those little things make the big things happen. It's not one play, it's not one person here or there, it's a group effort.

RE: Having Cam Newton back at home

The energy was great. Anytime he's in the huddle the energy's awesome. It's good to have him back.

RE: How he thinks they ran the ball today

I thought we ran it well. The called runs that we did call, I thought we ran it well. You know, we didn't have a lot of opportunities to run it. They won time of possession. We have to stay on the field. We can't go three-and-out. Penalties are obviously a thing that we have to change. Just staying efficient on first down and then obviously third down is big. It allows you to continue to run the ball and continually do it. But we have to find ways to convert on third down. Every game there's themes. We can't turn the ball over or it's got to be better on third down, but at the end of the day it's just consistent execution and doing your job. Obviously looking at myself it's not just making the catch but winning the route and making the catch and getting more faster and not getting tackled on certain plays. It's just time to level up.

RE: How frustrating it is to not be able to win at home during a playoff push

We're still in the race. Obviously it's frustrating. It's frustrating to lose anywhere whether it's home or away. But you treat them all the same, win or lose. You get back to the drawing board, you correct the mistakes, you capitalize on what you're good at and you keep moving forward.

CB DONTE JACKSON

Is he impressed with Taylor Heinicke's improvements:

Oh man. One thing about Taylor Heinicke, man, is you can always count on him to be a fighter. Be a competitor. And just be a guy who plays to win. It don't matter if he has to hand it off 100 times or throw it 100 times. He is just a guy who plays to win it. He really competed today and it was nice. I was very impressed.

How tough it is play rivals when fighting for playoff spots:

Oh, man, it sucks. I am not going to lie. It sucks. We play so well on the road and we come together so well on the road and we get home and it is like we don't bring that same fire. It starts with our leaders, myself included. It starts with us. It starts with the guys who the team looks upon to lead us through tough spots. I can speak for myself when I say that I wasn't the best leader today. I wasn't the what's -next type guys. I let the fact that we weren't communicating. The fact that we were blowing coverages. I let that get to me a lot today. Like I said, Cam said it best, this is the time when our leaders have to be leaders and we have to step up and have to help pull our team in these tough times. I can speak for myself and I can tell you guys that I know for a fact that I will be better. The price of doing business. We come in tomorrow and get ready to start this work week. Just not taking care of home definitely leaves a sour taste in your mouth man. It is not a good feeling.

Does his think the team's performance has to do with being young:

No, we are done with that. We are done with being the young team. Being all that man. It is solely just on us. It is solely just on what do we really want to do with this thing. Like I said that comes back on the leaders. That comes back on the guys who have been in the fire plenty of times. And who have been in these hard times of adversity plenty of times to just help pull us out of these times. Like I said man, it just sucks when you don't take care of home. The crowd was amazing. The crowd electric. We really appreciate the fans for coming out and doing their part to help us win this game. We didn't do our part and that just sucks. Like I said, I will be better. That is the only thing I know how to do is to move on. I am a solider and that is my next thing. I just want to be the best for my team and be that guy that makes plays in clutch situations. I just don't think I was Action Jackson today. I just think I was number 26. Like I said, I am a solider and I don't let none of that get to me. I don't let two plays define what I have done and what I am going to do. Like I said, we just got to be better. We got to lock in. We got to do what we do at the highest level we possibly can and come together. Because that is what it is going to take with these last six games. It is going to take us coming together and doing what we do at the highest level that we know how to do it. And when we do that we are a tough team to beat. That is the message man. Leaders lead. And we got to fight.

WR DJ MOORE

RE: The setbacks during the last two drives

I just know penalties set us back. That was the main thing that probably set us back on those last two drives.

RE: Coach Rhule's message to the team after the game

We still have to go play the rest of the season. The next opponent is Miami. We are going to look at the film tomorrow and break down what happened. We all know what happened with the penalties and everything. We just can't beat ourselves in a game like this.

RE: Cam Newton's performance

He played the best that he could. He always gives us an opportunity to win. We had an opportunity to go down and win, we just came up short.

RE: The team moving forward

In the coming weeks we are just honing in on the game plan like we do each week. Each week is a different game plan we just have to attack it and go execute it.

RE: What he remembers on the final offensive play

I just remember I had the one-on-one. He was pressed up and I beat him off the line. You have to look at everything because it's not just about one player. I don't know what happened on the back end so that's all I can say.

View photos from Sunday's Week 11 game between Carolina and Washington at Bank of America Stadium.

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