PANTHERS HEAD COACH RON RIVERA
POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE
August 22, 2019
Q: Update on Cam [Newton]…
RR: He’s in a walking boot, that’s all I can tell you.
Q: It looked like it may have been his mid-foot. Did you get any kind of specifics?
RR: You know I don’t ask until I’m done with you guys, then I will know.
Q: How was his demeanor on the sidelines? Did he seem to know right away based on his reaction?
RR: Again, I am watching the game. So I can’t tell you.
Q: What did you see on the actual play?
RR: He got sacked, and that’s about all I saw.
Q: Do you know if it happened when he was cutting in the pocket?
RR: Joe, I can’t tell you, I don’t know. I don’t know. And when I get a chance to watch the tape, I might know. But I don’t know.
Q: Is it too early to say, at this point, if he will play Week 1?
RR: I will find out when I get done with this press conference. Because what I usually do is, I don’t ask any questions, so I can’t answer the injury questions.
Q: As far as the rest of the offense, obviously some struggle for the second game in a row.
RR: I was looking for a little more consistency out of the two of them. You know, I thought Will [Grier] got a little something going at one point, but then we shoot ourselves in the foot with the holding call and then illegal procedure. And you can’t expect to have success when you do silly things like that. Probably the biggest disappointment was what happened up front, you know. I thought those guys played well, then all of a sudden we made too many mistakes to give ourselves a chance. And that’s probably the biggest disappointment. Like I said, until I get a chance to watch the tape and really see what happened, it would be unfair for me to indict anybody.
Q: How surprised are you, you mentioned that they looked so strong at the start of training camp and it’s been a slight downhill since then. How surprised are you?
RR: Well this was the first time the whole group went out and played together. That was probably the most disappointing point, we had some opportunities, and we missed them. And again, you can’t afford to do that.
Q: Did Cam stay in the locker room or did you send him somewhere else?
RR: They brought him into the locker room and, as far as I know, he was in there the rest of the game.
Q: Coach, upfront, was it miscommunication, was it technical mistakes. I know you said you would watch the tape…
RR: Again, when I watch the tape, I will be able to tell for sure. You know, again, it’s just unfortunate. You know, it happened early in the game, you know, and then happened a couple other times. I mean, the bad part is, you again can’t make mistakes and expect to give yourself a chance to win a football game.
Q: Before Cam went out, what did you like or not like? How do you evaluate the way he was playing?
RR: Well, I thought he threw a couple of nice balls, I mean. You know, and the unfortunate part, was we had a screen pass that we set up and was probably going to go for a big gain, and then unfortunately we didn’t connect on that. I mean, it’s just hard to evaluate that when those things happen. But again, like I said, I thought he threw a couple nice balls and unfortunately we didn’t get to see anymore of that.
Q: Ron, your quarterback is in a walking boot. I think they had seven or eight guys get hurt. Does this change your view at all on the preseason?
RR: I’ve always felt that, you know, it’s just tough. I mean, it’s part of the game unfortunately. You know, it’s happening now and we just got to take a look at it. I mean, we will see what the league decides. This is tough.
Q: Does it make you think, of course hind-sight 20/20, but in the future preseasons, might you not play Cam at all?
RR: Well, don’t know. I mean, this is one of those things that, everyone was geared up for this one, and again, it was an opportunity to get out and play. You know, it can happen on game one in the regular season. So, to sit here and say that, well you know, if you don’t play these games then you play game one and he gets hurt in game one. Then what do you do? That’s the hard part, that’s the unfortunate part.
Q: Did you have a conversation with Cam Newton on the sideline at all?
RR: No, I haven’t had a chance to speak to him. The only thing that I was told by the trainers is that they were taking him in for x-rays and that was it.
Q: What did you see from the defense? You called this game a measuring stick.
RR: I thought there was some really good things. Our plan was once we got through the first quarter, we were taking Luke [Kuechly] and Shaq [Thompson] out. Once we got to a little bit further, we took out the remainder of the front and then we got to another point and we took out the DBs and we did that consciously. And so we finished the first quarter and I was pleased with a couple of things that we did. Again, there were some limited things that we did but I was happy with the things that we did up front initially. We missed a couple of coverages, we got a couple of chances to make some plays on the ball but Tom Brady, he’s tremendous and he made some real good throws. But it was good to see our guys run around, I was pretty happy overall. We were fortunate to hold them to 13 [points] so you feel good about that. We did get a takeaway, we did get a couple of sacks – not on Tom [Brady], but still to progress the way we did, I was happy with that.
Q: Brian Burns was responsible for two of those sacks and a takeaway. What did you see from him tonight?
RR: Just like you, I saw the two sacks and the strip. There’s a couple of things that he has to understand and he may have made a few more plays. But there’s some things that we’ve got to teach him, he’s got to understand the right way to do things and I think he can be an even more effective player for us.
Q: Did you see what happened to Greg Little before he got taken out?
RR: No, I have no idea. I just know that they told me that they were taking him in to evaluate him.
Q: The sack that Cam Newton took looked like a coverage sack where he was trying to keep the play alive. Was that your view? I know you’ve got to watch the tape –
RR: Yeah, I really do on this one, Joe, because again, some of it could have been based on his progression, where he started it and so we’ll see.
Q: Was Rashaan Gaulden in on the strip-sack?
RR: No, he wasn’t.
Q: What’s going on with him?
RR: Just a coaching decision.
Q: Was it performance-related?
RR: No, not performance-related.
Q: Can you give us an update on Vernon Butler?
RR: Vernon Butler? We left him [in Carolina]. He’s rehabbing so we’ll see how he is when we get back tomorrow.
Q: You mentioned you wanted to get some clarity on positional battles with the nickel back and backup running back positions –
RR: I was happy with some of the things that happened with our nickel backs. Again, I thought those guys were competing, I think they’re doing a pretty good job. I like some of the things that we got from some of young corners. We had to move Ross Cockrell down to corner and he stepped up. That guy’s such a solid football player that we feel real fortunate with him. I like the play from the safeties, I thought those guys were very active, I thought the linebackers – I thought Luke [Kuechly] and Shaq [Thompson] and J.C. [Jermaine Carter Jr.] played really well, Andre Smith did some really nice things. We showed that we’re putting it together defensively, I was real happy with that. And as I said, I’ve got to take a look at the film before I draw any conclusions.
Q: We saw a lot of Reggie Bonnafon and Jordan Scarlett tonight but not so much of Elijah Holyfield. Was that a conscious decision?
RR: Yes, it was. We got to see Elijah early on and we hadn’t had a real good chance to take a look at Jordan so we wanted to play him a lot and as far as we could take him.
Q: What did you see from him?
RR: We saw him do some good things.
PANTHERS PLAYER IN THE LOCKER ROOM
Kyle Allen, QB
(On if the coach had any message for him)
“The message in total was to come out and play harder. I think just give more energy and set the tone. I think the whole game we couldn’t find our groove. We didn’t have any rhythm, I wanted to come out in the second half and set the tone. I think we just shot ourselves in the foot a lot. It’s tough, you want to play better in those moments, but it is what it is.”
Tre Boston, S
(On the play of the defense)
“We did some good things and there are some things we have to clean up. We went out there and they put up 10 points, that’s not bad. There are some things we definitely want to work on. We will go on and we will watch film. We have got to finish games. It was a close game, we would like to finish it.”
(On the penalties)
“Preseason, preseason ball. You want to clean it up. Luckily we have one more week to clean it up with our young guys. The older guys have got to learn by watching film. It’s a preseason game.”
(On his hair blocking his uniform number)
“Yeah [laughing]! 33 is starting and has the longest hair out there and if you can’t see his number it is probably Tre Boston!”
Brian Burns, LB/DE
(On the defensive takeaways)
“It is big to make takeaways and it can definitely up your chances for winning. To get one it feels good.”
(On his play this preseason)
“There are a lot of things I can do better. They [Patriots] were doing a lot of chips tonight. I have been really working on my chips technique and countering off of the chips. I can do that a lot better but it is going to take some time.”
Luke Kuechly, LB
(On the defense)
“It started in the spring, and even in training camp. I think the guys are really meshing well together. I think up front those guys are really doing a great job. So we’ll continue to work these next two week to get ready go, but I think we did a pretty good job today. Obviously there are a few spots where we could have done better, but for the most part I think we did pretty good.”
(On why this year will be special for the defense)
“Any time you get good guys mixed with good coaches, I think you have an opportunity to be pretty good. I think we have a lot of guys both older guys and younger guys that are hungry to win and hungry to win now and I think that puts you in a good position.”
(On LB/DE Brian Burns performance)
“He did a great job. He got the ball out today, that’s big. Anytime you can get a sack fumble that’s huge. I think he just plays hard, never complains, and he works at it. I think with a young guy to come in, him and Christian Miller are very similar in a sense that they work hard, they’re coachable, and they don’t complain. Brian and Christian get a ton of reps and sometimes in training camp that gets difficult but those guys get up for the challenge the whole time and they have done a very good job.”
Taylor Moton, T
(On the team’s performance)
“We just want to get better. Come out, win and do your job. When I’m out there it is hard for me to know how everyone else is doing. At the end of the day we have to go out there and work together. It is hard for me to say how we did without watching film.”
(On the upcoming season)
“You have got to be optimistic every year. You have got to be confident. At the same time know that you can do it and you have to do it. We all have to do our job.”
Greg Olsen, TE
(On the preseason games)
“The preseason is tough and it is the balance of getting some live action that you don’t quite get, You do everything in practice right up until the last minute. You don’t get sacked, you don’t get tackled, you don’t get hit in the open field, and you do everything up to that. You would like for the third preseason game to get in and get those reps, find some rhythm, find some tempo, and do what you’re doing and get out healthy. Those are kind of the order of the goals and we didn’t get any of those goals accomplished tonight. Obviously, we hope that Cam [Newton] is ok. On top of that, offensively, we were not very good. We didn’t check any of our boxes as far as the third preseason game goes. We have been here before and we have had great third preseason games and bad third preseason games. I don’t know how much correlation they have to how your season goes, but if you’re not careful, in this league you just can’t all of a sudden turn a switch and say we are going to be good now. It is a process about being good and we need to get better at that.”
Eric Reid, S
(On the hit on Ben Watson)
“I was just trying to stop him from getting the first down. I looked at the replay and yeah he was down. So let’s see what the league wants to do with it. I anticipate myself getting a fine but, I was just playing the game. I asked him if he was OK and if he could get up. You hate to see anyone get hurt.”
Kawann Short, DT
(On the game)
“We could be better. This is still something new to us and we just have to get adjusted and go back to the drawing board and get our communication down. Work on some of the key stuff that we missed. The mistakes that we made, we have to learn from them. We have to get everybody acquainted [with each other] and get everybody on the same page and start over.”
(On the penalties)
“It’s preseason. We are just trying to see what we can get away with. See what we can do and whatnot. We have to come out and practice this week and assess how we did and what we need to correct.”