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Sean McDermott Q&A


On the performance of his younger players in season opener at Denver:

"I was pleased with how they played. With the concern going out there in that environment and how they'd handle themselves, I thought for the most part they did a nice, solid job for us."

On his thoughts about the cornerback situation:

"I thought they did some good things. We took the ball away a couple times, two or three times there, which was important for us. Robert McClain played a solid game, and Bené Benwikere had the big interception. James Bradberry was solid in his first outing, which is important, as I already mentioned, with a rookie cornerback going out there. There were some positives, and some things we have to improve as we move forward."

On being excited for Benwikere's first game back:

"It was good. He's worked hard, coming back off the offseason injury, and to see him go through that process was rewarding. As a coach, you get a lot of joy out of that."

On takeaways from the Denver game that can be applied against the San Francisco 49ers:

"I thought we took the ball away three times, like I mentioned. You can win games when you do that. Giving the offense a chance to get the ball back at the end of the first half and put points on the board, and again at the end of the game to give ourselves a chance to win the game was important for us as a defense."

On safety Tre Boston's play the last few weeks:

"Another young player for us, just like James, Bené and some of our younger crust of players, if you will, that needed to step up for us. Tre made a big play at the end of the game, and now we're looking for, quite honestly, consistency. I've got to continue to put him and the rest of the defense in good positions, and then make sure we execute on a consistent basis moving forward."

On teaching points from Thursday's game:

"Again, just consistency. Consistency down-in, down-out - what we call playoff-caliber football and the standard that we expect and set for ourselves, and we expect to see it every play at each position. It's really what it's all about. We've got to continue to emphasize that, and players have to understand that they've got to be one-eleventh of the defense, as we talk about; trust the men next to them to do their job."

On the pass rush:

"I thought they were getting the ball out fast at times, so we've got to play better complimentary football. There are times when we could've rushed better; there are times when we could've covered better, in terms of making the quarterback hold the football. Those have to work hand-in-hand, and I didn't think we did that enough the other night, and that's one of the areas we have to improve moving forward."

On Panthers' run defense and missed tackles:

"You see that a little bit, unfortunately, early in the year watching college football and watching the games this weekend. That said, we've got to do a better job. We pride ourselves on good, sound fundamental defense, and I thought we could've done a better job in those areas. Tackling being one of them, so we've got to continue to work on that, put ourselves in better positions so we can be a good, sound fundamental team and attack the team the best."

On if it gets easier to play against a Chip Kelly offense after facing him in previous seasons:

"Familiarity is important. Just like we just talked about with the quarterback a week ago, having gone against Coach Kelly multiple times now, I think that helps us. It helps us as a staff, it helps the players that have gone against him before and his system. He's got a great system, and he's a darn good football coach. I have a lot of respect for him and what he does and how he does things there, so we'll have our work cut out for us."

On if either Carolina or San Francisco is advantaged or disadvantaged by playing on different schedules during Week 1:

"Look, they'll be coming off a shorter week, and in 'x' amount of weeks from now, we'll be coming off a short week. So, for me, there's no advantage or disadvantage. When it's kicked off at one o'clock Sunday, they'll be ready and I'm hoping we'll be ready."

View the top photos from Carolina's loss at Denver by team photographer Melissa Melvin-Rodriguez.

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