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30 September 2015

Week 4 Conference Call Transcripts: vs. Carolina (10/4/15)

HEAD COACH RON RIVERA
 
(On going through the ups and downs of an NFL season after drafting a quarterback No. 1 overall)
“It’s just exactly that. It’s the ups and downs and managing them. Coach [Lovie] Smith is a veteran NFL coach who understands that and he knows there’s going to be growing pains. The biggest thing is patience. That was the one thing that was beneficial for us was that we were patient and we understood that. I believe they are handling him the way, very similar to what we did. They put the young man out there from the beginning. He’s a big part of what they are going to do for the future. I think it’s now just a matter of time as he develops. We’re very fortunate. Our quarterback has developed and we feel very good about the direction we are headed.”
 
(On Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston)
“No, it’s kind of what you expect. You watch his body language, his posture, he’s a very confident young man. He looks like he has good control of what they are trying to do. You see him learning and growing as each game, each rep he takes goes by. I think the young man has a chance to continue to grow and be in the same situation, circumstance, as our guy here.”
 
(On Tampa Bay linebacker Kwon Alexander)
“I think he is a solid football player. Again, I have coached in Coach Smith’s system. It look like Kwon fits it. He’s a physical, aggressive player. He’s good speed and quickness. He’s got good vision. He seems to run the middle as far as what we call the middle run through. He seems to have that down. He understands gap control and he plays with his hands and his eyes. He is a solid young man.”
 
(On Alexander’s ability to step in and play right away)
“The biggest thing more than anything else is – it’s true with all rookies – and the bottom line is how he handles it, how he grows as a football player both mentally and physically is going to dictate how he quickly he gets onto the field and it’s a tribute to his intelligence as a football player and his willingness to work hard.”
 
(On how difficult is it as a middle linebacker to face Cam Newton)
“It’s going to be difficult for anybody really to take on the opponent’s quarterback. It doesn’t matter whether it’s Cam or Marcus Mariota or it’s Drew Brees. You are competing against what the guy does. You are competing against his skillset, but at the same time you are competing against what they do offensively to the defense. Cam is special in terms of he’s a different kind of person, he’s a big athlete and he’s a guy that handles the ball. Every snap of the game he’s handling the ball for us. There are a lot of things that people have to prepare for as far as he’s concerned just because he is the focal point of our offense.”
 
(On being successful without linebacker Luke Kuechly in the lineup and what his status is for the game)
“He’s still in the [concussion] protocol and we’ll treat it as we go by each day, tomorrow as well and the next day. We’ll see how it is. The biggest thing is we’ve been fortunate we have some good linebackers in play. A.J. Klein is a guy that went from our Sam linebacker position to our Mike linebacker the last couple of weeks. He took over the second half of our opener against Jacksonville and has played very well for us at the Mike positon. We are very pleased with what we have gotten from A.J. The other thing has been the guys around him have all stepped up their play. They have played some solid football as a unit and that’s always pleasing to have. Everybody doesn’t always feel like they have to do something different or special. They can line up and play their position and do their jobs.”
 
(On cornerback Josh Norman his final play against New Orleans)
“The biggest thing about Josh is he’s been in our program for four seasons now and he’s been developing during that period. He is right along the lines of where you would like him. He was a fourth-round pick or a fifth-round pick I can’t remember. At that point I don’t know if the expectations are to be on the field right away, but he developed. He got an opportunity to play early on in his career and develop. Last year he became the full-time starter for us at corner and has done a solid job. The play he made – Josh plays like he practices. I don’t know if you guys heard, but some of the players talked about the way Josh practiced last week, he had made that same exact play against Cam Newton in practice. He plays with great vision. He’s got a great feel for reading route concepts and seeing the ball. With those long arms and that athleticism, he was able to make a heck of a play.”
 
(On how much he expects from newly acquired defensive end Jared Allen)
“He’s excited to be here and he’s excited to put his hand back in the ground. We had a chance to look at his tape from this year – the three games that he’s played – and he was very active in those three games and made a lot of things happen – got to the quarterback, pressured the quarterback, hit the quarterback, got a sack on the quarterback, hit the ball, intercepted the ball, dropped into coverage, played man on a running back that ran an out-and-up and ran with him pretty well. We got a chance to really watch him and try to break him down. The thing we really liked about him to though was when he put his hand back in the ground and went they went nickel. He was playing outside linebacker in their 3-4 front, but when he went to nickel, they put his hand in the ground and that’s where we feel he can help us. We’re excited about having him. We think he has something left and we think he can contribute as far as we are concerned.”
 
(On if he was satisfied with the explanation he received from the league regarding the Ed Hochuli matter)
“For the most part I’m not concerned with it. Cam spoke his mind and he went from there. The league took their stance and Ed took his stance, so we’re just going to move on from there. To me it’s over. As Cam said, ‘I said what I said and I’m moving on.’”
 
QUARTERBACK CAM NEWTON
 
(On what advice he’s given Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston)
“For him, it was kind of like you had some of the same similarities of the whole process. The thing that me, myself as well as he had to learn is that it’s a long process. The thing that he had that I also had was that determination of success and winning, but knowing you’re coming into a league where you are going to the worst team, so it’s a learning curve and it’s a learning process. He’ll be alright with his forte of him being him – the whole gamet of being a Heisman trophy winner and the first overall pick. It’s something that he’s learned to grasp and accept with open arms.”
 
(On if he and Winston have become close)
“Absolutely, especially with him working out with George Whitfield, there are some things that we talked about that are more personal than anything. I wish him the best and will always wish him the best, I’m a fan of his work. With him being who he is there [was] going to be a big target on him no matter where he went.”
 
(On who of his receivers have stepped up with wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin being out due to injury)
“Everybody is just doing their job. That’s the nature of the beast in the NFL – everybody understanding that when one man goes down, somebody has to pick up the slack.”
 
(On the experience of joining a 2-14 team and not being accustomed to losing)
“It’s something that you just have to learn. Jameis, I believe is 21, 22-years-old. I don’t view life the same way at the age of 26. You feel like you are invincible and things that you can and want to do. You, just alone, think that that team will make leaps and strides – and they will – but there’s more to an NFL team than just one player. You see great players all the time that haven’t reached the success of playoff-winning caliber teams and that’s why you come in the league, to win championships. It’s just a learning process. It’s still taking me time to learn and he’ll learn as well.”
 
(On if he has given Winston any advice on the physical challenges of the NFL)
“No, that’s just him. You can lead the horse to the water, but you can’t make him drink. You could talk about how the league is, but his mental approach, his physical approach is going to be dictated on him – how  much he works out, how much does he do these particular things that are going to get him over the hump? Some of it is just God given. Some people just have that knack or have that talent more than others.”
 
(On facing Tampa Bay Head Coach Lovie Smith’s defense)
“It’s a team that is going to be coached extremely well and guys are going to give unbelievable effort. We just have to control the line of scrimmage and see where that gets us.”
 
(On Tampa Bay rookie linebacker Kwon Alexander)
“He’s a great guy out of LSU. He’s an exceptional talent. We’ve just got to make sure we run the football and do the things that got us to this point now and have a great week of practice, hope it carries over to the game.”
 
(On how being back-to-back division champions and getting off to a 3-0 start can boost the confidence of a team and its expectations)
“For us, it’s just keeping our blinders on, staying in that drive phase through the [monotony] of the season, going through every week of practice, learning and hoping it carries over to the game. That’s going to be the main thing for us.”
 
(On his effectiveness in the red zone and how he determines when to run versus when to pass)
“I never know. It’s all dictated on coach and what the play call is.”
 
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