HEAD COACH MATT RHULE
RE: Opening Statement
Obviously disappointed in the loss. Really disappointed in the way we played early in the game. Thought once we settled down on defense halfway through the second quarter, I thought [defensive coordinator] Phil [Snow] did a good job with his staff and settled the defense down. To hold that unit scoreless for that long showed some promise. Offensively had some opportunities to work on some more points. Didn't quite make the plays, hurt ourselves. The at the goal line obviously was a killer. Penalties on the last drive obviously killer. So disappointed. Credit to them. They're an 11-win team for a reason and we had a chance to see it and see where we have to get to.
RE: Update on Brian Burns' health
He finished the game, so I don't know exactly. He was kind of hobbling here. He was able to keep playing. Its usually one of those deals where you'll have to see him in tomorrow and see where he's at. I don't know much than other than that. I'm sorry.
RE: Promise defense showed tonight
I think the biggest thing we said to our guys is we weren't playing football at first. Like they were throwing the ball out on the perimeter and catching screens. They were running the ball through us and we were not tackling. I think our pride kind of kicked in and we played better after that. I thought we had a good feel for what they were going to do on our three-down package. I thought we covered well. We got off the field on third-down. I think they were four-of-six on third down in the first half and then obviously getting pressure, getting sacks. Derrick [Brown] getting sacks, Brian [Burns] getting sacks were all huge things. I think Phil [Snow] did a great job of saying, 'hey, this is what they are doing, let me go to this.' But at the same time, I thought our players, as I said to them, you hate these losses but if there is a message it's like, when we just do what we are supposed to do, we are a pretty good team. Our defense just kind of settled down and started tackling. I'm being long-winded here I thought one of the key things was our corners. Troy [Pride] went down, Rasul [Douglas] went in the game and I thought our corners stepped up and tackled in the run game. They were cracking our safeties and that was a huge difference. I think we just kind of started to play better.
RE: Goal-line fumble by Teddy Bridgewater and comment to Melissa Stark about never reaching the ball over the goal line
It's not Teddy, it's just our team. We don't reach the ball over the goal line until fourth down. It's just kind of a principal. We don't do it. We never do it. Teddy talked to the team and he admitted, he said 'I shouldn't have done that.' You get to the moment and you can't do new things. You know, you are at Lambeau in December playing a good team. You just have to trust yourself. I'm not talking about just Teddy, but the whole team. That play was emblematic. You talk about dramatic shift. Had he done that on fourth down, I can live with it, just not on first down, especially when I think we ran the ball well when we did run it tonight. That's just a principle of our team. We don't reach the ball across the goal line until fourth down.
RE: If that was the play call
No, and Teddy never, unless we give him some latitude. Last week I thought the problem was on us. We gave him too much latitude. We had the ball down at the 6-inch line and [offensive coordinator] Joe [Brady], we run the tempo on fourth-and-1, tried to call a tempo call and get us into a quarterback sneak to get into the endzone. We felt like that was one of the good things we were going to do. Instead of running the sneak like we do in practice, he jumped over the top. Again, that's something I think you do on fourth down. You don't do that on first down.
RE: If he would have wanted to run a different play than the quarterback sneak
No sir. No, Joe [Brady] called it. Joe calls the plays for us. He called quarterback sneak. That's just not how we execute it. I'm anticipating when we run quarterback sneak, we wedge in and push it. Quarterback sneaks in the NFL right now are like 90%. You usually score on them. You usually get the yard and score. It was first down. Quarterback sneak to try and catch them. The referees held us because some of our guys tried to run on the field and had to run back off when Joe went tempo. So, the referees held us. But we should execute that play. I have no problem with the play call. It's first down. You run the sneak, you don't get in, you are at the 6-inch line. Next play we hand it off. I was not going to kick a field goal there. We had four downs. My issue is really never about the play calls, it's the execution of the call. I expect every play can work if we do it right. We don't reach the ball over the goal line. I hate to beat him up on just that one play because there were a lot of things today that weren't up to our standard across the board. But that play just can't happen.
RE: Troy Pride injury update
That's it. They said he was down and never came back, said he was back up. I don't know the extent of that. We just turned to Rasul [Douglas] and went from there.
RE: Decision to kick field goal when down 11 near the end of the game
If you don't do that, then you have to win on the onside kick. If you are down 11 and you score either a touchdown or a field goal, but specifically the field goal, then with one timeout you can also use the 2-point. So I knew that we'd have a minute left, I said, hey we got to get a three and out. I felt a three and out would be better for us than an onside kick. I think you win an onside kick in the NFL like five to seven percent. That's how we said we would do it. We wanted to do that. It worked out perfectly. DJ [Moore] hit that big run. Because if he wouldn't have done that, we wouldn't have been able to do it. Luckily for us, the other part is Joey [Slye] has to kick be able to the ball through the endzone. Then you have to get the three and out so. That was our strategy. It worked out. We wanted to have the ball. We had the ball at the 50-yard line with a chance, with a minute left or whatever. Unfortunately, holding call and then a grounding call put us back under duress.
RE: Pass rush and five sacks indicating the promise of the future of the defense
Yeah, I think Aaron Rodgers right now he's scoring offensively in the passing game. I think for us to get sacks and that's really the first time we got sacks with the four-man rush. We got some pressure. We got some four-man rush sacks at a few times, knocked them out of field goal range. We got one at the end of the game. Got one at the end of the half. We got it from the inside as well. As disappointed as we are when we lose, there are a lot of positives. Those players have to continue to grow, continue to play better. Was happy to see them make some plays.
QB Teddy Bridgewater
RE: Rhule's comments that reaching the ball across the goal line on anything other than fourth down is not part of the team philosophy, and what Bridgewater's thoughts were in reaching for the goal line
Yeah, just trying to compete, trying to make a play but this situation, it's first down, it's just sneak. I heard the guys from the other team calling out the sneak. So I thought they were going to go low, so I was going to try to go over the top but of all the times that I've run the sneak, I've always just followed the wedge and I can't get to that moment and do anything different.
RE: On that play, if he was trying to jump, if he lost his footing
I mean, 55 (Za'Darius Smith), he did a great job of just leaping as well. His momentum stopped my momentum. I just sneak in behind the guys, dive in low, we may score, it may be second down.
RE: Drew Brees' effectiveness at that play and if he had seen that succeed a number of times in New Orleans
No, like I said, it was a situation where I heard them calling out the sneak; and I thought like I said, they were going to just try to dive in low. So I was just going try to reach the ball over the top. It had nothing to do with really seeing Drew Brees have success doing it, just one of those deals. Like I said, in the heat of the moment, I just have to do what I've been doing throughout the course of my career.
RE: If that play was even more disappointing as the game went on and the Panthers were within a score or two
Definitely but it's always disappointing when you get down there and you have points then you do something like that to prevent your team from scoring. So it's a situation where I guarantee you if I ever have to run a quarterback sneak again for the rest of my career, I'll probably make sure I never reach the ball over the top unless it's fourth-and-one.
RE: If he has run a lot of similar quarterbacks sneak before
I've run some quarterback sneaks on like third-and-short, can't remember how many I've ran on the goal line. But yeah, I've had some opportunities.
*RE: If running up tempo affected the play *
No, we were good with the play call. Obviously the key thing is getting everyone lined up so we don't get a penalty for illegal formation or guys moving.
RE: Intentional grounding at the end of the game
Yeah, those guys got to the quarterback. I was just trying to throw the ball in the dirt to Ian (Thomas) to prevent a sack, that would hurt us even more as well. But it was a lose-lose situation right there.
RE: The most frustrating part in this loss
I think realizing that if we just do it the way that we're coached in all three phases, it works. I think what happens is we get to that moment sometimes and we think that we got to do something a little different, for instance me on the quarterback sneak, and if I just continue just trust my coaches, you know, do it the way I'm told then, we're celebrating more in the locker room, opposed to having to learn new lessons each week. This team we have, this is a team that's going to win these kind of games down the road. Just have to continue to believe in ourselves, believe in what the coaches are telling us. I think what was good for us, with everything that happened in the first half, we came in at half and coach got after us a little bit and it kind of got the guys going. I think if we can just generate our own energy, not have Coach get after us the way he did, I think the leaders on this team, we have to do a better job of stepping up, you know the rest will transplant to the football field.
WR DJ Moore
RE: What were the past few weeks like for you and what was it like playing in today's game?
It was alright, it wasn't nothing too hard. Just had to go through what I had to go through, now I'm back. I just had fun today, even though we lost. I mean, you win some, you lose some. But I've good.
RE: The goal line fumble by QB Teddy Bridgewater
On that play, we just know we have to score. It was pivotal but we also bounced back from it, so that's all I can say on it.
RE: The energy Carolina's offense got from seeing the defense play well
Both sides, even special teams, we all feed off each other so them going out there and getting stops, we just went out there knowing that we just had to make something happen. Both sides started to turn up at the end, so we just have to finish at the end of the day.
RE: Surpassing 1,000 receiving yards on the season
It's always great to reach a milestone. A win would have been better but the loss is something that we learn from. We are just going to go back to the drawing boards for next week.
RE: Why Carolina's offense is having trouble getting off to hot starts
I don't know. We just all just have to be honed in and just ready to go coming out the gate, just like we are in the second half. It ain't really nothing too hard to fix, but we just have to keep going forward.
DE Brian Burns
RE: Update on his health and the play of the defense, especially in the second half
I'm alright. I tweaked my knee a little bit, but I'll be fine.
Yeah, the defense stepped up big time after the first half. I feel like we came out as a new team, it was just too late.
RE: What the difference was with the defense in the second half, particularly with the pressure on the quarterback
In the first half they didn't even throw the ball. They were really just running the ball. But guys just not doing their job, including myself sometimes. Just got to be one-eleventh and stay in your gaps and just be disciplined. But in the second half they started throwing the ball a little more and we were bringing pressure and everybody was doing their job. So that was the difference really. Just doing your job.
RE: What was different that allowed the defense to be successful with four-man rush
Honestly, everybody just came out with a different mentality. In my opinion, I felt like I was really rushing trying to get to the quarterback and I feel like guys were decisive with their moves. It wasn't any guessing. It was like, I'm going to do this and it's going to work. That's how it kind of felt like to me. That was my mentality. I was going to throw my moves and it was going to work regardless. And if it didn't, I'd have a counter of it. But that was my mentality, to throw that move first.
RE: If lining up in the wrong gap and being in the wrong positions has been a problem all year
No, I wouldn't say it's been a problem all year, but there's been spurts and times where a guy or just someone wasn't doing their job at a particular time. But too many 'my bads' can add up to big plays. So that's the main thing that we have to do is stick together cancel out all the 'my bads' – all those small, but big errors in my opinion.
RE: If he starts to see the makings of a good defense down the road when he sees the play of Derrick Brown and Jeremy Chinn
I think we've got a good defense now to be honest. It just comes down to those – when we came out in the second half it was completely different. I don't know. I don't know what clicked in everybody's head, but we just came out with a different mentality. But I feel like we've got a good defense now. We cut out these small errors, I feel like we can be great. For real.
RE: What went wrong on the 46-yard run by Green Bay in the first quarter
Gap. We've got to be disciplined. Got to stay in your gap. That's all it takes. It's a small error, but it can happen to be a big play, a splash play for them. So just getting bounced out of your gap or getting a little nosy checking another gap can happen to a 40-whatever run it is. So staying in our gaps, staying disciplined, that would be a tackle for loss.
DT Derrick Brown
RE: What it felt like to get his first career sacks
It felt good. Just felt like the process is working.
RE: Difference in the second half in the defense and the pass rush
We turned it up man. We had to. We've got to be able to come out and do that from the very beginning.
RE: If the performance today showed him what the defensive line can be in the future when they're at their best
Yeah, we definitely had flashes today, we've just got to be more consistent.
RE: What the defense needs to get to where it wants to be in the future – more players, more time together or something else
You're taking a group of guys that's had not even a full month together really before this. I mean that was in virtual meetings. It's been a long season, but it's something that we have to overcome and just going forward being able to rely on one another and just laying it on the line for each other.
RE: Key for him specifically in getting pressure
I was just doing my job and they fell into my hands. That's really it.
RE: If he is surprised that it took him this long to get his first NFL sack
Yeah, man. At the beginning of the year I was worried about it and I was getting frustrated. I wanted a sack, but at the end of the day you can't try to overdo your role.
RE: If it is significant that his first sack came against a future Hall of Famer
Yeah, to be able to sack a future, for the first sack to come against that, that was awesome.
CB Rasul Douglas
RE: Adjustments after Green Bay's hot start
There wasn't really an adjustment. We just actually started playing and everybody just started doing their job and we started getting stops.
RE: How encouraged he is for the future after seeing how the defense played in response to the slow start
When we're all on our swag, on our game, and we're doing exactly what we're supposed to do - everybody get in their gaps and everybody guards their guys - we see flashes of how good this defense can be. Second half, we did that. But we can't start like that, so we just have to do better coming out starting the game.
RE: Coach Rhule's halftime speech
He just told everybody to play ball. Go out there, don't worry about nothing. Do your job. Play ball. That's basically what he shared. We didn't come out here to lose. We came out here to win. Let's win.
RE: If players are trying to do more than what they're coached to do
I don't know if people are trying to do extra, but I just felt like we weren't playing our football, I'll say more so. We weren't doing our job. Everybody wasn't doing their job. The minute we changed, we were just like, 'do your job.' Everybody huddled up like, 'do your job and we're going to be good.' Everybody started doing their job and we started getting stop after stop after stop. But it just wasn't enough.
RE: Pressure from the defensive line on the Packers quarterback
They did a good job. Them boys just went after him. I mean, it's easier because he doesn't have that much time to sit there and throw the ball wherever he wants to throw, or wait five, six seconds for somebody to go across the field and come all the way back. The guys were hunting. It's better for the defense, the whole defense. They did a good job of getting pressure and we did a good of just making sure nothing was open on the back end.
View game action photos from Carolina's Week 15 game at Green Bay.