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07 September 2014

CAROLINA PANTHERS POSTGAME QUOTES SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 2014

HEAD COACH RON RIVERA
 
(On the play of quarterback Derek Anderson)
“I thought D.A. was solid, he managed the game very well. He gave us an opportunity to put some guys in position to have success. It was a heck of a decision to throw the ball he did to Kelvin (Benjamin). He had a good read on the play and he was really trying to throw it back shoulder and the defender was in the way and Kelvin just made a hell of a play. Theres a lot of good things D.A did today as far as managing the offense, putting us in position to score, and scoring when we needed a play.”
 
(On his decision to start Anderson in place of injured quarterback Cam Newton)
“I had an idea Saturday night. I sat down talked with the doctors, talked with our trainers, talked with our quarterback coach, our offensive coordinator. Then I talked with Cam, who wasn’t very happy about it, but that’s part of it. He wanted to play so bad, in the worst way. The one thing the doctors stressed me is that if we could create one more opportunity he would be that much healthier. That was the decision I made last night. Again, I listened to a lot of the people that work for us and gave me a lot of good advice.
 
(On if Newton will play next week)
“Yes, I am expecting him to be ready to play.”
 
(On Newton’s reaction to the decision)
“He was just unhappy. He wants to play in the worst way, he really does. The one thing I told him is ‘Be there for your teammates on the sideline.’ In fact, we had to pull him back a couple times. He wants to be a part of everything we do. That’s who he is and that’s why his teammates elected him team captain, because it means a lot to him. It is very personal for him as far as being one of the leaders on this team.”
 
(On Newton’s sideline behavior)
“I wasn’t aware until they came and told me: ‘Coach, you’ve got to keep an eye on him’ So I did. He ran out there to bring water I guess. The referees pointed it out so we were able to calm him down and just get him to slow down. I’m telling you, he just wants to be out there.”
 
(On the factors that lead to his decision to start Anderson)
“We are very fortunate. We have got a couple of really good backup quarterbacks. Derek’s an established quarterback in this league and Joe (Webb) had a great preseason for us, so I felt very comfortable with the situation we were going to have. It gave me some comfort, but at the same time I know who Cam Newton is and I want him on the football field as well. Having known that Derek has played in this league and has had a lot of success in this league,I was very comfortable and very confident.”
 
(On the biggest difference in today’s game)
“Takeaways, I think that was probably the difference. I think we had three today and we got them in key situations. We were able to get points off the takeaways as well, you’ve got to do that in this league. I know if theres anything you could point at, that was one of the fortunate things for us. They did a lot of good things on the other side of the ball. Coach (Lovie) Smith had his team ready to go. Their still breaking in some things that they want to do offensively, but defensively they are pretty solid. They are going to be a good team.”
 
(On Newton appearing to be active and mobile enough to play)
“The thing is you can’t protect against what RV(Head Athletic Trainer Ryan Vermillion) described as an accordion hit, where he’s on the ground, he gets hit and everything gets compressed, thats when a lot of the problems can occur. This extra week is going to pay off, I really believe it is. I’m excited to have him getting ready to play football for us.”
 
(On the game plan going into the game)
“The game plan was to do what Derek does best: give an opportunity to throw the football, but also to run the ball. I thought we did that very well. I thought DeAngelo (Williams) and the guys ran hard. We had an opportunity to put it away and we did. Again, credit to them, they are a good solid football team, they are on their way. We just got to be ready because we are going to face these guys again.”
 
(On the performance of the offensive line and only allowing one sack)
“We’ll have to take a look at it cause I’m not sure that was on the offensive line anyway. I thought there were some really good things that went on. This is a very good defensive line we faced and our guys did a nice job. We’ll have another one coming in next week.”
 
(On the defense’s performance late in the game)
“We missed some opportunities, we missed some third downs. I think we are a little soft. We are going to look at it; Sean (McDermott) and I will take a look at. The defensive coaches will talk about the areas that they hit and exactly what happened. On the first touchdown I thought we were in good position, we just didn’t get hands on the number one receiver outside. He was able to get to the sideline and once the guy gets down the sideline like that it’s really hard for the safety to get there. We’ll work on that and get that corrected as well, that’s not acceptable. We got to be better at that.”
 
(On Newton having any say on the decision to play)
“Believe me guys, he wanted to play in the worst kind of way. You know who he is. He is a heck of a football player and we know that.”
 
(On the concerns that were in place if Newton were to have played)
“Well just the concern being is that if that were to happen the calluses built up there could have come off and now we are talking about another three to four weeks. We were really concerned. The plan will be to see him work out tomorrow, see him on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. We had a plan going into this week. We thought if he could practice Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday and be effective, we’d have a good shot. He didn’t do anything Wednesday, didn't do anything Thursday, but lo and behold Friday, he looked really good. I was building confidence, but I had to listen to the doctors, I had to listen to our trainers and our coaches and that’s why I made my decision.”
 
(On how it feels to start the season with a win)
“Feels very good. We played a good football game today. We left some things out there and they took some things from us. But we have an opportunity to be a good football team. We’ve got a really good Detroit team coming in with a lot of talented football players and we got to be able to handle them.”
 
(On if rookie wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin played like a rookie)
“No, with the exception of him making a couple of mistakes here and there: alignment mistakes, route depth, he got called for blocking in the back but he’s learning. He’s got a lot of confidence in who he is and he makes plays for us.”
 
(On linebacker Luke Kuechly’s forced fumble near the end of the game)
“Again, I think there were a lot of clutch plays in this game. I think that we as a football team, especially defensively, have a lot of good players. We have opportunities to make plays and we got to make plays. We had an opportunity to make more and we didn’t make enough. We just got to keep getting better at what we do.”
 
(On the marching band performing during kicker Graham Gano’s halftime warmup)
“That was a little disconcerting as far as I was concerned. We’ll ask about it, something must have happened beforehand. The hard part is the kickers, you saw Gano got a little flustered about it too so I’ll have to talk to Graham about that. I’m not sure what happened to be honest with you.”
 
(On if he had talked to any of the quarterbacks the night before)
“Yes, I did. Derek said ‘I’m ready to go.’ Derek’s a pro. I don’t worry about Derek. It’s interesting because Derek and Joe (Webb) are two guys that really didn’t need a lot of reps to prepare. That’s the amazing thing about Joe too, he’s done a nice job for us.”
 
QUARTERBACK DEREK ANDERSON
 
(On his conversation with Carolina Head Coach Ron Rivera about starting the game)
“I was excited. Obviously the circumstances were a little different but I just prepared all week like I was going to start.  I had a game plan in mind, what I was going to do against different coverages, and I was just going to try to execute as best I could.”
 
(On how he played)
“I felt like I executed and did the things they asked me to do, there were a couple of throws I would like to have back, but all in all getting a win in this stadium is a pretty good thing.”
 
(On how he would rate his performance)
“I would obviously have to go through the tape but from what I saw from the pictures on the sidelines there were a few reads I missed, but all in all I thought it was pretty decent.”
 
(On cramping)
“My forearms and my calves were cramping up during the whole second half.”
 
(On cramping affecting his throwing)
“Did you see all the wobbly balls I was throwing?  Yeah, but we were pushing each other, and that’s kind of just what we had to do.”
 
(On wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin’s play)
“I thought he did great.  At halftime we talked about feeling out the game, and hydrating because at halftime I think he was struggling a little bit.  But I thought he did a good job of fighting through it.  He told me, ‘I’m from Florida’ and I told him ‘It is hot!.’  I thought he did a great job though and we had a great conversation after.”
 
(On whether he feels he may get additional starts)
“I don’t know what is going to happen, I’m just happy that we could get the win.  I’m just going to come next week and keep playing the same way and correct things, and hopefully keep getting better.”
 
(On how much fun he had playing a full regulation game)
“I’ve been through a lot.  I haven’t been out there in four years so to play a solid football game and get a win was big for me.”
 
(On how proud he was to be able to go out there and give a solid performance on short notice)
“It was big. Personally, I know a lot of those guys in the locker room got my back, so to go out there and not let those guys down, that’s something that pushes me every day.  When your number’s called you’ve got to be ready because those guys got your back and you can’t let them down.”
 
TIGHT END GREG OLSEN
 
(On quarterback Derek Anderson being able to step in and get the win)
“It just says a lot about the kind of guy he is and how much pride he takes in preparing every week. It’s been years and he hasn’t gotten his number called, but he’s always been prepared and then a day like today he’s worth his weight in gold. We decided to hold Cam out and when your backup can go in and play as good as probably most starters in the league, and we’ve said that since we’ve all been there. We’ve been watching him in practice and he’s a starter-caliber quarterback and we’re just happy he’s our guy.”
 
(On how the team feels when Anderson is behind center)
“We feel like we have a good connection with whoever is in there and D.A. – we got off to a good start hitting a couple of plays, they weren’t for big gains, but they were for some third downs and then things kind of opened up downfield and we just missed on that one. It would have really put the game away [making it] 24-0, that was kind of tough. That was a momentum changer, he put a good ball out there and I have to make that [catch], but you can’t say enough. Hats off to him and what he’s been through the last couple of weeks and to come out and play like this on the road says a lot about him.”
 
(On how well their defense played)
“They played awesome, they played great. The turnovers, the field position, the offense – if we do a better job of finishing some of those drives, I don’t know if they even would have scored those two touchdowns. We’ve got to do a better job in that four minute and we have the lead in chunking time off and keeping working on that and obviously we’re by no means a finished product.”
 
LINEBACKER LUKE KUECHLY
 
(On getting a stop on the Buccaneers’ two-minute drive in the fourth quarter)
“I think we did a good job early on in the game, we were able to execute on our assignments and I think in the end there, the couple of drives they had, we blew a couple of things and that’s what happens when you’re not communicating at all and on the same page. But that’s what’s good about our defense, we’re able to make plays at the end of the game, get off the field and rally around each other. I think that’s the most important part.”
 
(On starting the season 1-0 for the first time since 2008)
“It’s awesome. It’s one of those things it sounds so cliché, but winning your first game is awesome. All of the hard work that we put in during the offseason has been able to pay off in this first game and we’re excited to keep going.”
 
(On quarterback Derek Anderson being able to step in and get the win)
“D.A. is a great player, he’s a pro and he’s excellent. When Cam went down, we’re all like, ‘D.A. is going to step in.’ He prepares every week like he’s playing and it showed today.”
 
(On causing the fumble to end the game)
“The running back burst it out and I was able to get my hand in there. A lot of credit goes to Bené [Benwikere], he was running around, scooped it up and [was] able to keep it in bounds.”
 
(On what allowed the Buccaneers to get back in the game)
“We just had a couple of communication breakdowns and we just need to do a better job of that in practice, and it transfers to the game. I think the one thing that was good was even though those breakdowns occurred, we were able to rally at the end of the game.”
 
WIDE RECEIVER KELVIN BENJAMIN
 
(On how he made his touchdown catch)
"I mean, I'm big. You got to use your size. You have to overpower them and just go get the ball and be strong with your hands."
 
(On his touchdown catch)
"It's like another catch to me. Right now, it's the past and it's over. We got to get ready for the next upcoming game. I don't like to dwell on the past."
 
(On quarterback Cam Newton being upset about not playing)
"Of course, it's his first game he's ever missed. Who wouldn't be mad? But, he's a great competitor. I'd be mad, too, if I missed a game. This is what you shine at and you're not going to have fun. It's what you work your butt off for."
 
(On quarterback Derek Anderson's performance)
"I knew D.A. [Derek Anderson] was going to do great. Our coaches prepared great during the week. He had a great week preparing, so I knew he was going to do great."
 
(On whether his keeping tabs on the other first-round receivers in the league)
"Not at all. That is not even on my lists. I don't care what they do right now. My performance is about my team and about winning - winning games - and doing what I can do to help my team."
 
DEFENSIVE END GREG HARDY
 
(On the pressure playing without quarterback Cam Newton)
"I didn't even know Cam was going to be out. When I get here, he was sitting in that chair over there. We come out with the mentality of work together, play hard and dominate the front and secondary and make sure our linebackers come down hill and that's just plan and simple how we ball, or try to ball."
 
(On the defense not playing well in the second half)
"That's not supposed to happen, especially in the fourth quarter. You got to play hard and we got to play harder than the offense, most importantly. That didn't happen, but I'm proud of us. I'm proud of myself and the guys for pushing through and holding it out at the end. Offense and defensive side, it's just adjustments right now. We got to go back home and we got to work because we got to see them [Buccaneers] again and they're not going to come out and play games next time."
 
(On starting off the season with a win)
"A fast start is always good. I wouldn't call this one a fast start, but it's better than we have done in the past. I'm really excited to get back home, get back to work, check out the mistakes and get better. We got to see these guys again and all the division guys are going to watch this game and we got to fill in the holes and fill in the gaps."
 
(On the impressiveness of quarterback Derek Anderson's performance)
"I wouldn't say impressed is the best word. I would say proud, because he [Derek Anderson] did what I knew he was going to do. He's done it in preseason and he does it in practice. He's a Pro Bowler for god’s sake.”
 
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