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Carolina Panthers

Rivera's Remarks: Secondary plan

Comments from Carolina Panthers Head Coach Ron Rivera.

On the status of injured defensive backs Charles Godfrey and Captain Munnerlyn and other injuries: We'll see as we go through it. Tomorrow will be the big day; that's when we've got to make the announcement (out, doubtful, questionable or probable). Charles got treatment today. He said he felt better. Captain is still looking like he's hobbled. Greg Hardy got sick today, so we brought him in. Charles Johnson looked better today. Everybody else on it (injury report) is fine.


On the starters at safety and cornerback if Godfrey and Munnerlyn cannot play: It's the next guy up. Jordan (Pugh) is the next guy in the rotation (at safety). R.J. (Stanford) and Darius (Butler) are both working at the corner position, and R.J. is working at the nickel position just in case. Darius would start at the corner, and R.J. would be the nickel back.

On practice: It was a good practice today. It was the first day we got to go full speed (this week). We were limited in terms of how fast we could go indoors yesterday. We really looked good though. I'm pretty happy about it. Some things we've got to tighten up, but it was a good practice, a good effort.

On the defensive line: I am very happy with that. They have played very well. This will be a good challenge for us. This is a team we played a couple of weeks ago, and they've got good reason to want to come in and play hard. So we've got to be able to match their intensity.

On defensive tackle Jason Shirley: He's a space eater. That's what you hope for. You're looking for a guy that can hold the point, take up space and let your linebackers run. That's kind of what I was hoping to find. We got a guy like that in Jason, who's stepped in and done a nice job.


On Shirley having two sacks in two games: Any time a guy can come in and contribute like that, it's gravy. The big thing is that our guys playing around him have stepped up and done some nice things, the way that the other guys (the defensive ends) have responded to having new guys in there. Andre Neblett has been playing well all year, and he's been matched up with different tandems of guys. Charles Johnson, Greg Hardy and Antwan Applewhite having to adjust to the guys that are playing alongside them or in front of them, that's been good.

On several Panthers being on the verge of setting team and league records: In light of what's happened this season, I think it's good that we have some guys with opportunities to do some special things on this team. I'm very excited for how Steve (Smith) has played, Chris (Gamble), and Jeremy (Shockey) with the continuation of receptions in every game he's played, and then Cam (Newton) breaking the rookie (passing) record and the (rushing) touchdown record. We have guys that are capable of doing some good things, big things. We've got to match them and continue to grow.

On how remarkable it is that tight end Jeremy Shockey has caught a pass in all 134 regular season games he has played: To play as long as he has and to be as productive as he has, that's a heck of a deal. I'm just happy for the kid, because he's a heck of a guy and a heck of a teammate and player.


On if the Panthers have had contract discussions with Shockey about returning next season: That's for the future. He knows how we feel about him. It's just a matter of time once we get into the offseason. It's been policy here that we don't sign guys in the middle of the year that are playing. I know we signed a couple of guys (Gary Barnidge and Garry Williams), but they are on IR and we wouldn't consider that a distraction. Our concern is we don't want to distract from what's happening right now.

!On if his first season as a head coach has gone by faster or slower than he thought it would: Faster. It really has. Being busy, constantly working, trying to learn and adjust to things keeps your mind off of time. So before you know it, you're running out of time constantly as we go through those things. The thing that's been great has been the enthusiasm with which these players have come to work every day. We're in Week 16, and the one thing that they've been able to do is keep their focus each week. The last few I've been really preaching that it's whatever is remaining plus one. And that's the truth of the matter. Everything we're doing, we're all being evaluated for the first Sunday in September.

On if he is enjoying being a head coach more than he thought: Either way, I knew I'd enjoy it. There have been ups and downs. I've been frustrated, excited, disappointed, elated. I've been all through the gamut. It's everything I wanted it to be, ever hoped it would be and everything it is. The thing that I really haven't expected is the unexpected. So many little things come up that they come to you with like, "We're out of shaving cream. We're out of shampoo." It all comes up. Everything from he's hurt to there's not enough Gatorade. But it comes to you. Some of the coaches that have been head coaches for a while all told me that the biggest thing that's going to happen is you are going to get taken away from actual coaching, because you've got to do all of the administrative little detail things.

On when being the Panthers' head coach became routine for him this season: I'm not sure if it ever really has become routine yet. When things come up, I don't get to go to certain meetings. But when there's nothing, I can go to all the meetings I want. Every morning, I try to at least pop in and out of the different (meeting) rooms we have here, stick my head in for a little bit and then go to the next one. (But) you really can't sit in and get involved with all the different things that are happening.

On if it would be difficult to be the defensive coordinator in addition to the head coach: I've watched some offensive guys do it and do it very successfully. I've watched Norv Turner do it very, very well. I don't know. I can't say one way or the other, because as I look at it, I think you can. But in the same respect, now having gone through what I have this year, it would be awfully hard to do everything, to do everything good, to do everything right. Once you've gotten settled in, maybe you could and do it very effectively.

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