Postgame Transcripts: Week 16 vs. Tampa Bay

HEAD COACH MATT RHULE

Opening Statement:

Obviously, very disappointed in the final score today. Credit to Tampa Bay. Obviously, they are the defending champs for a reason. NFC South Camps for a reason. As I told our team it is just kind of where we are. Thought our guys played hard. I thought our defense kept going out and answering the call in. In the second half you know when we were trying to be aggressive to get back into the game. We were going for it on fourth down and bad field position, I thought our defense held the line and gave us a chance to get the ball back. Unfortunately, we weren't able to get down there and get in the endzone and score touchdowns. Thought both quarterbacks went in, gave all they had, competed, was a better day throwing the ball for us. But at the end of the day we gave up seven sacks and so we were at times overwhelmed by both their pressure package and their four-man rush. I will have to go back and watch the tape before I can comment too much, but their pass rush certainly was a major factor in the game. I thought Antonio Brown played really well for them. We struggled with him at times. Stephon Gilmore going down and then CJ going down obviously exacerbated that. Phil Snow did a nice job of trying to find some zone pressures. We were able to get to the quarterback, but unfortunately, we were not able to cause any turnovers. With that I will see questions that you guys have.

RE: Playing two quarterbacks and if it played out as he anticipated:

Yeah, we planned on putting Sam Darnold into the second or third series you know obviously Cam did a great job on the first drive. Led us down the field, scored a touchdown. Not scored a touchdown, but had a chance to score a touchdown, scored a field goal, just like we thought he would. I think the second drive we moved the ball on third down and then we had the interception which led to points for them. We put Sam in and that was really just the set. Lot of respect for Cam, what he brings to the table, have the explosive run, lot of things that he can do. You also want to see what Sam can do. Sam got in there, I thought he showed mental toughness, he is being booed by the home fans and went out and made an explosive play. From where he was early on to where he is now I think he is going to finish 14-of-27 is what they handed me. A lot of those kind of under duress. I thought he was effective. I think both quarterbacks though as look at it, to get seven sacks and all that, I think it is hard to evaluate without watching the tape.

RE: If it was always the plan to put in Sam Darnold on the third or fourth series:

What I said was our second or third series we had hoped to put him in. Again, I don't ever make promises. I say, hey this is what I am planning on doing. Both guys knew that and we kind of see how the game played out, put Cam back in the second half and hoped that his combination of running and throwing could give us a spark. It got to be a two or three score game so we put Sam back in. At the end, it was truly just a drop back game so we put Sam in that situation to see how he would respond. He moved us. We just weren't able to put the balls in the red zone down inside of the 20. But I certainly think he did move us. Had a chance for the touchdown to Ameer. Weren't able to connect on that one. I thought I saw a lot of good things from Sam today that we needed to see.

RE: What position he thinks offensive issues are coming from:

I'm not a big 'hey, I think it's just this.' I think when you have seven sacks you have to say obviously we have been talking about the offensive line all year. There have been games where we haven't had sacks and I thought we had a chance to win those games. When you get behind in a game like this, you aren't really running the football at a high level unless you are running the quarterback. You get behind in a game like this and they were able to tee off, and you are having to throw it every down. We just aren't quite built for that yet. That is just where we are. As you guys know we used a lot of draft picks and capital on pass rushers and the d-line. Guys on the o-line, a lot of guys are out. Matt Paradis is out. These guys had to step up. Pat Elflein went out. Tecklenberg stepped in today. I can't comment on how anyone played without seeing the tape. They will be the first to say that giving up seven sacks you aren't going to win any games really doing that. I don't want to point at any one thing. Obviously, wasn't good enough. Defense usually plays well enough to give us at least a chance to win. Offensively, we have continued to struggle.

RE: Thoughts on where Carolina is at with the quarterback position:

I would first say that the way [Tampa Bay] are constructed, look across the line, they have invested in the offensive line. Those guys are all out there playing. And again, I don't want to say anything that sounds like I am criticizing our guys, I am just talking about the way that they built their team. They still have Rob Gronkowski out there. They Cameron Brate. They have OJ Howard who is their third tight end who was a first-round draft pick out of Alabama. They have got good weapons. Scotty Miller. Antonio Brown today to me was the difference for them. I think he went 10 for 100 yards. He hasn't been out there. You lose Godwin, but insert him and Tom Brady has been to the Super Bowl 10 times. We would bring pressure, he'd side step out of the way, find guys that were opened. They were able to run the football well today at times. I think he is just a really, really special player and he has got the right group in front of him and he has got enough weapons outside that he can be successful. Like I said earlier this week, that team struggled for several years and they acquired a lot of pieces and then the quarterback showed up and Gronk showed up, Antonio Brown showed up and now they are one of the best teams in the league. We are not them yet. We are aspiring to be them. We are trying to add pieces as we go and develop guys and draft guys and sign guys and we hope that we can get there. It is painful while it's there. I understand everyone's frustration. I'll say this, the people at Tampa Bay were frustrated two years ago and three years ago. But they stayed true to what they did and it is working out. Tom Brady is by far, I am going to say this, he is special beyond special.

RE: What he meant when he told the team this is just where they are right now:

I thought that they played hard. I said this is where we are at right now. We didn't play well enough to win and we have to keep grinding to get better. Not in terms of like an excuse or anything. It is like, hey I have no issues with your effort. It is hard to say these things after a loss. Because my first thing is we never accept losing. But to have guys wake up this morning and find out, hey basically your special teams captain and third receiver can't play. To wake up yesterday and find out that hey your corner, your second corner can't play. Other guys just kind of get signed off the practice squad ready to go. I am proud of all those things. To me, everyone sees the results, I get it, but there is a process happening underneath that everyone is kind of looking at like it is not working Matt, it is not working Matt. When I see all the good things that are happening I am like, I believe that it is. So I was proud of their effort. I was proud of the defense to keep them. I mean the defense could have been like man the offense is terrible today and they could have let them score two more touchdowns, but they went out there and they played coverage and they got to Brady and they stopped them and all those things. And then the offense. DJ Moore has been hurt all week. Robby. They took us right down the field and we had a fourth down throw in the endzone to try and end the game. So, when I say this is kind of where we are at right now, just meaning they are the defending champs and we are chasing that. We want to be that. I am not going to apologize that we are not there yet. Saying I know the work that everyone has been putting in to get there. To get to where they are. So, I don't want our guys to apologize for the work that they are putting in. We just have to work harder and continue to work and get better. I think it says a lot about the team that they are not quitting. You sit there and you look around. You are sitting on the side lines, you are talking to Donte Jackson and Christian McCaffrey and all those guys. A lot of young guys for our team have stepped up. I hope that it builds a basis of depth. That guys like Stanley Thomas-Oliver are out there today covering and CJ Henderson is covering, because those will be the guys that will really build, when those other guys come back, build the depth of the team.

RE: If he anticipates Sam Darnold starting:

I have no anticipation right now on anything. There was not much out there today that I was like, 'oh, why did we do this?' Obviously, we don't want to have an interception. That one play with Sam, it looked like it was a fumble that got away from him. But until I see the tape, most of the game the feelings that I had on the field were about a couple of open receivers that we didn't hit and were about protecting the quarterback. I can't comment yet right now about what it will be moving forward.

RE: If he thinks playing two quarterbacks has messed with their rhythm:

No, I don't think anyone wants to play two quarterbacks. Some teams have in the past. Some teams do in small regimens. No team wants to do it. You know, we are not winning and so we weren't winning that game and so we were trying to see who could spark us and light us and move the ball down the field. We know so much of what Cam can do. We have kind of spotty pictures of what Sam can do. We saw him early in the year look like a starting quarterback in the NFL. We saw him in the middle struggle. Today I think he showed a lot of moxie. Again, it is hard to go out there and have, be at home and be booed. You know the first thing he did was create an explosive. I thought he had more pocket awareness, timing, all those things. Cam, the competitor that he is, the leader that he is, he comes right back in the second half. He is not pouting about it. Neither one of them should be happy about what is happening right now. Neither one of them. And I am sure they are not. When you sit down and you talk to Cam Newton and you sit down and you talk to Sam Darnold, especially when you talk to Cam Newton, he is a competitor and he just wants to be coached hard. And he wants to win. We have a lot to figure out just about who can do what. I will have to watch the tape and hopefully give you guys better answers during the week.

RE: Thoughts on the fans booing:

You know, I come from Philadelphia. To me, it shows that people care. Walking off the field, people booing – we are not winning. I have no problem with that. People spend their hard-earned money to come watch us play. It is part of it when you are the head coach, when you are the quarterback. That is all part of it. It makes it that much better when you win. I much prefer passion over apathy. I much prefer pressure over nothing. I could do something else. I think our fans have been great. They support us and you know sometimes you need to be booed. Now for Sam, I hate it for him, because all he has done is played hard and got hurt. He is just not Cam and what Cam means to so many people. But Sam was able to handle that. I have no issue with our fans. What fans deserve is they deserve a winner. They saw a really good team early in the year and they're not seeing it right now. I understand their frustration. What I believe is happening, is I believe we have undergone a lot of things and a lot of things are growing within the program. I believe it is going to take off at some point. But my job is to win today. I wasn't able to do it. My job is to go to New Orleans next week and win. I have to find a way to do that. That is why I always have the dual perspective. I see the work, I see the improvements, I see the things that we are doing, I see the growth on defense, I see the growth on special teams, I see when Lirim [Hajrullahu] shows up on Wednesday and makes a field goal today. I see all these things. Unique situations that no one's ever really had a kicking try out before a game. So, we have had such a unique year in that way and I see the guys overcome it. All that being said, we lost and you are what your record says you are. So I should be booed as I walk off the field. Obviously, I never want out players to be booed. But that is for them. We are the men in the arena. This is what happens. I think our fans our great.

RE: If he considered putting Cam back in for a curtain call if it was his last home game:

I don't see Cam as anything other than a competitor. I wasn't going to put him in in some sort of gratuitous – I don't think he would want that. I think he wants to come back tomorrow and go compete to play next week. I think it is all of that. Part of this for me is this is Cam's game number six for us. He hasn't had the full you know. So, when I sit there and say hey I want to see Sam, I also want to see Cam. I want to see where he's at in career and the good things he can do. I know great things he has done and I have seen all the flashes of great things he has done this year. It is hard to play quarterback when you are getting hit. We all talk about one position, but it is all these things around it too. I have not done a good enough job as the head coach to allow Cam and Sam and PJ to be successful because they don't have 200 yards rushing next to them and they don't have a clean pocket and all those things. I understand completely why people are like why are we going back and forth between these two guys. It is a targeted decision that I understand is not popular, but it feels like this is what is best for the Carolina Panthers right now. I hope both players respect it. Is it hard for them to get into rhythm? I am sure. At the same time, great players, when you are called on you go out there. Sam was called on, he went out there, he took us right down the field. Cam took us right down the field his first drive. To me it is about the O-Line, the running backs, the receivers, the whole system – all the things we have to improve upon allowing our quarterbacks to also be successful. I would hate to ever drop anything on any one person, especially for someone who has been here for a couple weeks.

RE: How he would explain to fans that the process is working:

I don't know that anyone wants to hear that, nor should they. I just think when you look at most teams that start over. Like last year, you guys would call it a rebuild and I would always try not to use that word. I would be like, well you know we are building. But when you walk in the building and Luke Kuechly leaves, and James Bradberry leaves and all these people and you are like, okay who is left over? It is like, have you ever seen the Will Smith Fresh Prince of Bel-Air where he is kind of looking around the house? A lot of people left. And it is like okay we have got to start over. I hate it for our fans that we are not winning. I know how much they want to win. I hear it from them. I hear you. But when Dave hired me, he said I want it done right. I want it done for the long term. I want you to build it with young players that grow. So, when I look out on the field and I see the Jeremy Chinns and the Stantley Thomas-Olivers and the Myles Hartsfields and all these guys. Sometimes you are not ready to win with a ton first- and second-year players. But they are growing up in this system. They are growing up with the way that we do things. I believe we have seen flashes of what we can be. We saw flashes at Arizona. I think when you start over and as people have written articles, you didn't have a great 2019 draft and we lost a lot of good players. It takes a couple drafts to get there. So, I don't say any of that as excuses. I say that as this is the plan. The plan was never, hey year two, even when we won the first three games was like man we have so many things we have to fix. And so, to go into this year and lose Christian. We said hey we will go as far as we play well on the O-Line and the quarterback position. We have played three quarterbacks. That is nothing against any of them. We don't have stability there because of the way the year has gone. Offensive line wise, we have not had stability there. So, I see why I see people would say, hey it is not working. You are losing. And some of these games like 32-6, it doesn't even look like it is close. I completely understand that. But what we did was we made a decision to build it from the ground up with young players and young players make a lot of mistakes sometimes. We brought in targeted veterans. I think we will hit free agency and the draft and we will resign a bunch of the players who are here who have been through it for a couple years for us. I think when you look at guys. I will finish with this. I think you look at the success that some players in this have. Because when you come from college, okay is he a college coach, is he a college coach. I see the success Curtis Samuel had. Career year for us and then he went and signed well. Manhertz. These guys were good players beforehand, but I see the guys that are coming up right now that are going to be big dollar free agents for us. A lot of guys are having a lot of induvial success having their best years playing for us. If you just keep doing that and keep adding the right pieces then eventually everyone. You have a really good team. We have some key areas that we have to fix. Whether that is to coach them better. To do a better organizationally. But I believe it is one-thousand percent working, I just know no one can see it and I apologize. As I tell our team all the time, it took Jay-Z seven years. Seven years. He had to start his own agency to become famous, to become an overnight sensation. It takes time. But I will finish but saying I respect the fight. I respect CJ Saunders waking up this morning and being like oh you guys need me I will be at the hotel in five minutes. We have a good group. There are some good healthy things happening. Got to win some games. Merry Christmas everyone. Happy Holidays.

QB CAM NEWTON

RE: How hard it is to operate under a two-quarterback system in terms of rhythm:

It's not difficult, just do your job and that's what it comes down to.

RE: Seeming reflective on the sideline and what he was thinking as the game was coming to an end:

When it goes without saying, you know the humanistic side of this football game, football has been good to me. I was able to walk away unscathed, but I don't want to sound like I am retiring but, it has some great memories. As you thing about, as you move forward it takes more than one guy, it takes more than one talent, it takes more than a couple of guys, it takes unanimously everybody under center what their role is and what you have to do. When I look at my situation, was it ideal? I'm talking big picture, I'm talking over the years, not today, I'm just talking. Was it ideal? No, but I think the thing that I can pride myself on is being able to say I never blinked, I never bitched, I never complained, I never pointed the figure, I never wanted it any easier than what it is. Man, we play this game as alpha males, as lions going against each other. One lion taking over another safari or whatever and you will be damned so to speak. So, it takes guys to really understand their role and their responsibility in being able to execute it every play. So on the sideline, I had a moment where you look back over the years and guys who taught you, the Steve Smiths, Jordan Gross, Ryan Kalil, Michael Ohers, Thomas Davis, Luke Kuechlys, Josh Norman for what it's worth, Charles Johnson, Julius Peppers, KK Short, and they understood what "Keep Pounding" meant. Was it ideal? No. Was it something that you know you had to just succumb to the philosophy at times? Yeah, but the team got the glory. Nobody looked for somebody else to make a play, they just went out there and upheld their end of the bargain and did it. You know, I say that in all confidence knowing that I don't know what the future holds but I'm just so let down because the City of Charlotte has been good to me. You know when I first got here, there was a lot of uncertainty how long I would be here and this second go around is just unfortunate because you put so much work into trying to find ways to win, trying to find ways to win, you know building relationships along the way; and when it doesn't happen, like right now, you feel empty, you feel like, damn are you good enough? My message to the offense before the game was it's about you equating to me. It's about me. And that may sound individualistic, but when you really think about it, it's about us and how our outlook is and before you can get to us you have to hold yourself accountable and that's why it's about you being me. So when I'm up here speaking at you guys, its necessarily, I'm not going to complain about getting into a rhythm, I'm not going to complain about what this person didn't do, what that person didn't do, I'm going to be a man and I'm going to take responsibility because I know if I just keep doing what I am supposed to do, in the long run it will pay off. I take pride in saying that I was able to be a part of probably the best season to date that this city has ever seen and I wasn't a part of the 2-14 team, but its not pretty. So, the level of appreciation that I have for Mecklenburg County and its connecting counties and cities around, it hit a little different. I don't necessarily know what the future holds but I'm going to look that lion eyeball to eyeball, you know as Kobe once said, and I'm not going to blink. I take pride in my performance, I take pride in knowing that you can't bully me, I'm as alpha as they come. So, when you take pride in certain things, your preparation is a certain type of way, the way you practice is a certain type of way, the way you play in hopes is a certain type of way, but you still need other guys to do that. And that's the frustrating part, it's just like, you know you got guys in that locker room that you can win with and for me you got coaches in there that you can win with, they've won, but being able to sustain it, week in and week out, day in and day out, hour by hour, that's what I always question myself in being able to do that. I know that's a lot but…

RE: What he would like his future to look like:

I don't know.

RE: In Arizona, you spoke a lot about how purposeful your return here has been, do you have any sense of clarity on what that purpose may be?

Of course, of course. You know I just hate that the circumstances were what they were. I'm still learning the offense, let's be honest. But at the same time, being able to roll with the punches. As old coach Mike Shula use to always tell me, "You've got be like the water on the duck's back," just keep what's next mentality. The person that I am today, its so much that races through your mind, but, I'm just grateful to have the platform that I do have. I see a lot of guys that come up on the stage or the podium and take the cowards way, directly or indirectly. You know, the truth is that I wasn't good enough today, I knew that. There were opportunities for us to move the ball. Was that a good defense? Was that a good team? Absolutely. But if you are looking in the mirror and you see Simba in the early part of the movie and you don't see Mufasa, you know that's what it comes down to. So, you know for me, I just appreciate Coach Rhule for challenging me and allowing me to challenge him. I appreciate how Sam [Darnold] went out there and competed and battled, I appreciate my teammates for doing the best that they could. That best wasn't good enough, including myself. We, and I'm saying the whole Charlotte community, we deserve better. Hell, I want better and if you don't want that, if you don't feel disgusted inside, then it is what it is. I mean, Coach Rhule is a great coach. I heard the boos, I heard the chants and stuff like that, but last time I checked Coach Rhule wasn't out there playing. It was told to me early on this week about playing two quarterbacks. Did I approve of it? That's not even a thought. As a player, you play. A coach, he coaches. If he deems that that was the best for this team to win, then its for me to swallow my pride and get on board, and I did that. Yet, at the end of the day it's about being realistic, but at the same time being optimistic of knowing like I said what I said about being a part of a team that brought the best season here and I'm a part of something that's not accepted to the masses. Just to see the different dynamics, hopefully there will be a brighter day.

RE: This feels like you are saying goodbye. I'm wondering when you hugged Brady and ran through the tunnel ahead of everyone else, what did it feel like?

Part of me right now, man wants to just keep it a buck with ya'll. If it wasn't for my children watching this, I could keep it a buck. As far as this being my last go round, naw, I don't I feel like that; for more reasons than one. But yet, it's nothing to belabor the fact. You are looking at a man, and I say that pridefully because I can say this and I can say that, yeah you know what you right, yeah you know, but what does that do besides be the front of the Charlotte Observer, ESPN.com, you know the news. This city done seen too many cowards, let's just be honest. We need real people to step up to the opportunity, players, coaches, front office, owners and take it personal, take it personal because I do. I want to be a part of this for the future but at the end of the day, you know as a man you've just got to accept whatever role that you get. I take pride in it and I take today's performance very personal and the performances in the past very personal.

RE: Your moment with Greg Olsen's son TJ Olsen before the Keep Pounding Drum:

Yeah man I forgot about Greg [Olsen] on the list players, man. You know I call him "Cheeks." When he was a little kid, man he had just the puffiest cheeks. When I look at my son, my youngest, Cashmere Saint, I call him Pumba for short, you know, you don't know that feeling, I don't know that feeling to be able to look at your child and hope that the doctors do their job. I witnessed Greg and I've seen what him and Kara were able to do along that time, and it was just admirable, it was just so honorable to just see from afar the true definition of "Keep Pounding." No matter what the circumstances were and are, you know you just stay optimistic and you just keep moving forward. TJ today was able to do something that a lot of people probably don't care to know, but you know he's a walking testimony, he's a walking blessing to be able to endure a lot that he has endured. I just remember, I will forever be grateful to Greg Olsen, man, just what he was able to do. Was one of those guys that always had my ear, still has my ear with being a professional. Watching guys like that over years, see how they move, see how they are men, see how they are great husbands, see how they are great fathers, that's the reason why I am who I am, having guys like that that you can kind of see from a far and say man look, I was there when his son was going through those surgeries, prayer after prayer after prayer, and hope after hope after hope. He never came to practice and said, "you know what this is just too much for me." He never came to any team meetings late. And just to see him persevere through that and to see a walking testimony like I said today, it just is what it is. I'm grateful for that, I'm grateful for this and it is going to be what it's going to be. I just know that we're a good football team, it may not look like that all of the time but I know what I see in practice and I know what I've seen over this last couple of weeks that I have been here. We are a good football team and we can win. It's just about us believing we can win and not taking the easy route and being able to grunt games away. As I was watching games yesterday, not to bring anybody else in, you know the NFL is set up to be a one-touchdown, one-score league. That's just how its setup. You can't look for the blowout wins, even though today was, but you've just got to be able to lick your wounds, throw dirt on any type of scabs and just be able to tell yourself, by all means I'm going to do my job to win. Man, I know we came up short today, but it's some things that we can go back and watch and say to yourselves that we've got to keep building; and I can tell you right now, it wasn't because of the coaching. It wasn't because of what a person may have said or done, because the truth of the matter is we all are playing for jobs. If you don't think as a coach, you wouldn't do the right thing to want to win or to endure your tenure here, then you wouldn't do it. Everything he was bringing to the forefront was for one thing and one thing and that's to win. We didn't do it today, so you get the brunt of the blow and that's just what you sign up for.

QB SAM DARNOLD

RE: His thoughts on hearing fans boo:

Just do my job. That's the biggest thing. I feel like a lot of these questions are going to be answered with that response. I just have to go out there and do my job. That's really all I was thinking during that moment. Then for us to go down the field, obviously we didn't score a touchdown, but to go and execute - we didn't put it together in the red zone, but I thought we did a good job after that to be able to execute.

RE: How he feels physically:

I felt good. It's football so I took a couple shots but bounced back and I was good.

RE: How it feels rotating quarterbacks:

It's something that we had talked about during the week, so we were prepared for it. We were prepared for it and that's pretty much all I've got.

RE: The difficulty rotating quarterbacks:

Early on when I was at USC, I was rotating a little bit - had some red zone packages at USC when I wasn't starting. I've done it to a degree before but not in the NFL.

RE: The most difficult part of rotating quarterbacks:

I'm not sure, I think for us as quarterbacks, you've just got to go out there and do your job and execute and that's really all we can focus on.

RE: If the fans were booing him or if they were upset Cam Newton was not in the game:

I guess you'd have to ask them. I'm sure a lot of the fans are passionate about Cam. That's very obvious. So I'm thinking that's what it was. Cam's done so much for this city and so much for this organization. I'm sure that's what it was.

RE: If he had any thoughts seeing Cam stand on his own on the sideline in the fourth quarter:

I didn't even see him standing there. I wasn't paying attention to that.

RE: How well he did his job today:

Not good enough. Left some plays out there. Didn't complete enough footballs.

RE: If he wished he could've had another chance on his incompletion to Ameer Abdullah:

Yeah, that's one, and then the one to DJ [Moore] on the slant. I think the game was a little out of reach at that point though. I think that throw to Ameer, I could've put a little more off it.

RE: His last six weeks while out:

Just rehabbing. I was trying to get healthy for the last six weeks. I thought me and the entire training staff did a really good job of trying to get back and get healthy and make sure my shoulder was ready - not just ready to throw but ready to take another hit. That was really the biggest thing in terms of recovery. I thought they did a great job with that and managing so it felt good today.

RE: Where he watched Panthers games while out:

Just at my apartment. It sucks to lose. We spend so much time in here, so much effort goes into playing games throughout the week that whenever you lose - no matter what your role is on the team - it's always tough.

DE BRIAN BURNS

RE: Frustration after a Ronald Jones off-tackle carry:

Pretty much because we didn't execute whatever the call was. I think I was getting double teamed or something. I don't know what happened. I was in the D gap or something like that. I just felt like somebody was supposed to be there. We didn't execute that call. That's why I was upset.

RE: Any issues with the effort from teammates:

No issues with effort. It's a repetitive statement, but it all comes down to doing your job and communication. Same ole', same ole.' Staying in your gap. Discipline.

RE: What he wants to see from the team during the last two games of the season:

Execution. All around, all three phases of the game I'd like to see execution. Everybody just doing their 1/11th. I feel like when we were doing that it was working for us. It just seems like things can't get right.

RE: Thoughts on the booing from the fans:

I'm not going to lie, I didn't even hear it. I was probably too busy trying to make adjustments or something. I didn't hear it.

RE: Believing in the team's process/plan:

Like I said before, we are in the stages of creating our own culture. He's implementing his culture and we have to stick by that process regardless. They might not be seeing the results, but certain places didn't become a dynasty or have a great reputation, great tradition day one. You just have to weather the storm until you come through. That's how I see it.

RE: Thoughts on making the Pro Bowl

I was excited. I'm blessed. Great opportunity and great achievement. It's going to be cool to do it at the end of season but I'm not feeling too good right now.

LB SHAQ THOMPSON

RE: Confidence that the team's process/plan is working:

Each and every day we come here and we work. You all don't see what we put in, in the meeting rooms and on the film and all that stuff. Each and every day these guys come in and each and every day we work. We are not going out there and 'BSing' and none of that stuff. That's the process. That's 'The Brand' he's [Coach Rhule] talking about to us each and every day, working. That's what we do. Each and every day we are going to come out here and we are going to work. Regardless of the outcome, win, lose, or draw. We are going to go out there and fight for sixty minutes.

RE: Tom Brady and the Buccaneers stability at quarterback:

You have to have a quarterback, right? We just have to go out and play defense. Tom Brady is the best to ever do it and he's a great quarterback. We love to have him in the NFC South. Love to go against him twice a year. Have to go out there and play.

RE: Understanding the fan's frustration having lost 6 straight home games:

I understand the player's frustration. We are the ones frustrated too. We go out there each and every day. Blood, sweat, and tears. Film. Each and every day. Go out there and lose, it's disappointing. We put a lot of time and effort in this. I understand their frustration, but we are frustrated too. Just as much as they're frustrated.

RE: What's going wrong from a player's perspective:

I don't know. We just have to find a way to win. That's all I can say.

RE: Keeping a positive attitude throughout the losing streak:

It is tough. Just like I said, you put in so much time and effort to come out here and give your fans disappointing play, they definitely deserve more. We definitely deserve more as a team. We have to step it up. We have to grow up and we have to start winning these games. The most important games.

View photos of the Panthers taking on Tampa Bay in the 2021 home finale in Week 16.

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