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Thomas Davis Q&A

On linebacker Luke Kuechly's injury:"It's extremely tough, but our trainers and Luke are going to do what's best for him long-term and moving forward. Hopefully we'll get him back on the field as soon as he's able."

On his Instragram photo the day after the game with Kuechly giving a thumbs up:"He was feeling better then than he was the night you guys last saw him. That was definitely a positive, and it was good to see a smile on his face."

On the mass support for Kuechly after his injury:"Not really what it meant to him, but I think that I got a good picture of what he means to the city and what he means to the community. That was amazing to see everyone come together after he went down the way he did, and I just loved the way the city loves him."

On why the photo was posted:"I was getting flooded with messages from fans wanting to know how he was doing. They were very concerned. He was in here and he was feeling pretty good, so I snapped a quick picture."

On how Kuechly has been feeling since Friday's picture:"I think he's doing pretty good. That will be something you'll have to ask R.V. (head athletic trainer Ryan Vermillion) and Luke himself how he's doing, but I think he's on the mend."


On linebacker A.J. Klein filling-in for Kuechly well in the past:"I think, across the board, we've done a good job of next-man-up. A.J. is a guy we have a lot of faith in. He comes in and he plays extremely well, and we don't expect that to be any different this weekend."

On if there is much "fall-off" from Kuechly to Klein:"Watch the games. A.J. comes in and he does a great job, so we're excited to have him in."

On what he saw in Klein's performance last season filling in for Kuechly:"His ability to come in and lead the defense from a play-calling standpoint. He doesn't lack any confidence from that standpoint. When he came in last year, he did a great job, and we expect him to do the same thing this year."

On how many teams he thinks Klein could play for:"32. I honestly think he could be a starter on any team in this league."

On the team taking a playoff mentality:"No question. We understand that every game moving forward is very important. We can't afford to drop another football game. We're going to face a very, very tough team this week, and we've got to be ready to go."

On using this two-week trip to build team comradery:"We just have to use it for what it's worth. We're going to be around each other a lot, and we're just going to continue to bond as we always have as a football team. We've got to stay together. We've got to make sure that everybody is where we need to be. We've got to police each other, and we have to make smart decisions while we're away."

On if he watched the Raiders-Texans game Monday night:"I watched the whole game."

His impressions:"They're a very impressive offense. When you look at what they're capable of doing from an offensive standpoint, of Derek (Carr) getting the ball to not only the receivers – he did a great job of, when their running game wasn't working, he found ways to utilize his running backs. They ended up with right at 200 yards of receiving out of the backfield. We know what kind of test we're up against as linebackers, and we just have to be prepared for it."

On Carr being compared to a point guard:"I think that's a pretty good analogy. When you think about quarterbacks and the way they run the show, I think that's a very good analogy because, in essence, that's what they're doing: They're distributing the ball and they're making things happen for guys around them."

On Carr's success throwing to running backs being the reason he hasn't been sacked often:"I think he's been very smart and doing a really good job of making quick decisions and getting the ball out of his hands. As a defense, we have to understand that's something they're doing, so we've got to make sure that we're committing to receivers. We can't allow guys to just run free, and make sure we make it a lot tougher than the teams before us have."

On what he thinks Kuechly would say of Carr:"He's a stud. He's played phenomenally all season. He's going out and executing their game plan. Whenever you hear a guy's name being mentioned at the top, or right there at the top in the MVP race, that really speaks to what he's been able to do all season long. Hats off to him. He's a young kid who's gotten better every year, and he's really running the show right now for their team."

On what he's told his teammates about the atmosphere in Oakland:"Focus. Stay focused. Focus in on the task at hand. You can't get caught up worrying about what's going on outside of the football field. You've just got to go out and play the game. That's it."

His thoughts on the crazy environment:"That's it. They're passionate. They're loyal fans, and they love their team."

On if it's frustrating that injuries are piling up on a defense that was playing well together: "Yeah, but at the same time, we've been there before. We understand that things do happen in games. Playing this game, you're never going to go through a full season where nobody goes down. You just have to have guys that are playing behind them that are capable of coming in and getting the job done. We feel very comfortable in the guys we have on this football team to come in and play well and understand what the expectations are and just go out and execute the game plan. We're looking forward to seeing these guys take advantage of the opportunity."

On if a two-week road trip effects the one-game-at-a-time mentality:"No, it's one game at a time. It doesn't matter if we go out and win the game against Oakland and then lose against Seattle. We're still putting ourselves in a position that we don't want to be in and can't afford to be in. It's all about staying focused in on the team we're playing next and getting that win. Then we can move on, but until we go out and take care of business against Oakland, anything after that is irrelevant."

On if he thinks Kuechly will play again this season:"That's something that you'll have to talk to the doctors about. I can't sit here and say that I know what's going to happen. We'll let them take care of him like they did last time and like they do every time somebody gets injured."

On what his Thanksgiving table will look like: "I'm more of a ham guy. We'll have turkey, we'll have ham, but personally I'm a ham guy. It's a complete meal for me: macaroni, collard greens, dressing - not stuffing - ham and fried chicken. Then I'm good. My wife is an amazing cook. She does a great job. I'm looking forward to it."

View photos of the Panthers practice leading up to their game against the Raiders.

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