Ron Rivera, Carolina Panthers Head Coach
Thoughts on tonight's performance
I think there were a lot of good things that went on out there. I talked about doing certain things and being consistent. We were pretty consistent for the most part. We put ourselves in position, now we just have to capitalize. That is probably the biggest disappointment more than anything else. Third down was very good as an offense, very good as a defense on plays like that. We came out in the second half, drove the ball down and punched it in to score a touchdown. I'm really happy about what we did right there. Then the defense came out, held them, got the ball back and forced the punt. We did the things that we needed to do. We did the things I wanted to see us do. The disappointment obviously is we had some opportunities. We dropped a couple of interceptions we should have had. We dropped a couple of passes we should have had. We missed on a fourth down situation. But again, a lot of things we did I was really proud of. I think we are getting better. We are heading in the right direction and I'm fired up about that.
What the receiving corps needs to do
The biggest thing more so than anything else is Corey Brown has to stop putting the pressure on him to replace Kelvin Benjamin. To replace Kelvin is going to be a unit job, not a one man job. I tell these guys I need one guy making one play. I don't need one guy trying to make a lot of plays. That's the bottom line. Corey has to stop thinking that it has to be him to do it because that's what happened. He wanted to stay in the third quarter, wanted to stay in the fourth quarter and give him a couple chances to make a couple plays. That's what I told him. I said, "Corey stop thinking you have to and start wanting to." I put my arm around him and told him you have all the time in the world, you have all the ability in the world, you show it. Now go out there and do it because you want to do it, not that you have to.
Brown's touchdown drops over last two games
It's not concerning. I think the truth of the matter is he is putting too much pressure on himself, at least in my opinion. He has opportunities. He will capitalize on those opportunities. We believe in him. We believe in who he is. Sure, he has made a couple of mistakes but that is a part of football too. Now how he handles it, how he bounces back, that is going to tell us what kind of football player he really is. We will find out. We have a whole other week to get ready. I'll expect him to pick it up. I'll expect him to do what he needs to do.
*If the defense played well tonight *
Yes, I think they did. The two minute drive, there were a couple things that they did. They made a couple plays. Tom Brady is who he is because he is a great football playe,r because he makes plays. We did have a couple times that Tom Brady took advantage of it. Fortunately, Thomas Davis was there step for step and missed the ball. It went right through his hands and we will work on that with' TD'.
If there is anyone besides Corey Brown that he wants to go with?
No, we are sticking with Corey. Guys, this is what the preseason is for. Again, as we go through it, we will watch it and study and see. How he handles the situation will tell us a lot about who he is as a football player. Again, it is about making plays and taking advantage of opportunities. Again, I believe he has what it takes and that he is going to go out and correct these things and make these plays.
How Cam Newton improved over last week
I was very pleased with his whole command of what we did. Again, this was our third game, this was the game you game plan for and look forward to. We had a little bit more in as far as what we were going to do offensively. We were put in a really good position. I thought he had good rhythm early on. A couple times we drove the ball down and unfortunately had to kick field goals. I thought we came out with the jets rolling at the second half. I thought he handled it very well. He took the team down and scored. That's what we need to do. We need to have that kind of energy when he comes out on the football field and I thought he did that.
If he thinks the defensive backs should have had more picks
Yes they should have. They should have had more, at least four maybe five. But again, they put themselves in position. They put themselves in position to make plays and that's always a good thing. It's always tough when you do things and you do things the right way, but again you have to finish the play. These are guys who made tremendous plays last season and we expect them to make tremendous plays this season. I thought Josh Norman did a nice job on the break reading the quarterback. I thought Bene Benwikere made a nice play as well.
Seriousness of Jerricho Cotchery injury
It was his groin. I don't think so. But again, it's one of those things that we will see what is done after they bring him in and get him iced down. Brian Folkerts rolled his ankle so he was iced down as well.
Brian Folkerts play tonight affected by ankle
I thought he played pretty well, all things considered. It's his first start ever and I thought he handled it very nicely. I think he handled the line calls for the most part. They did a couple things he probably wasn't ready for but I think he handled those things pretty well. Again, he is a young guy. He has a long way to go but he is a good player.
Are Devin Funchess and Charles Johnson close to returning?
They are very close. In fact they came out and ran before the game and of course they tell you that if they had to they could play. I say, yeah, ok right. It was good to see them out there working, running the way that they did. It's one of those things that once we get to Sunday's practice we are going to add on a few more guys. We will have Charles Johnson out there. We will have Kawann Short out there. We will have Devin Funchess out there. So I'm excited about that.
Cam Newton, Quarterback
On going over to Corey Brown after a drop and what he said to him
Just personal. There is no need to publicize something that is already understood. As an offense, we just have to be better after having the performance that we had today. At times it was exciting to see and now looking back, it is just frustrating that at halftime the defense had played their tails off and only ended up with six points. The scoreboard did not tell the outlook of the game but perception is a reality. From afar, looking at the score you would think that we had a game that we were struggling in. With the defense playing like they did, we have to find a way to put more points up on the board.
On whether or not he thought Corey was pressing a bit
I don't want to make this about Corey. We lost a football game that we should've won and Philly (Corey Brown) knows what he has to do. My confidence is not altered by any means. We are going to need guys to step up from Jerricho Cotchery, Greg Olsen, Philly, Brenton Bersin and those guys. Everybody has to make a conscious effort to play better including myself and we will.
On whether or not he is confident in the weapons around him helping them go to the next level
I don't have any choice. The answers are in the locker room. It is not up to me. I have full confidence in the personnel, I've got full confidence in myself that we will have a great week of practice, get back on track and know that we have to keep this winning attitude. We have to find ways to win and today we found ways to lose.
On what it means to a player to have someone come and talk them up when they are struggling during a game
It is all of us in a game but yet the major problem is that we have to find a way to win the game. Offensively, we didn't hold our end of the bargain up. We did a great job of moving the ball but when we find a way to get to the red zone, we have to finish. We didn't finish today.
On running the no huddle
It is just setting the tempo to the defense. It is really applying pressure to the defense and forcing those guys to give us the look that we want. We don't want to break the huddle at seventeen seconds because then there is not much that we can do. For me to be able to see what those guys are doing, it is up to me to see what I can see and get the offense into the right play.
On how the scheme has helped him
The more that you see, the better off you will be. Like I have said, it is not anything worth panicking about when we are in that type of tempo. It is tempoing just enough for us to play fast and have the defense hesitate somewhat. We feel like we are pretty up to par in our endurance and we have to stay that way. When we get in that red zone we have to find a way to cut it into overdrive and score points.
*On what he liked about what they did tonight offensively *
We moved the ball. We did move the ball but when the defense goes out there and gets turnovers, we cannot let those opportunities go in vain and we did that today. We had what we wanted and played a great team in the third preseason game. They are the defending champs and we just let those guys get away. It is nothing to take against what they did. They are a great team and we understand that but we are a great team too. We have aspirations to be even better but with the performance that some of us showed at times is not good enough. I am speaking not necessarily to a specific group. I am speaking as a whole I have to be better. Defensively, they have to be better. Special teams has to be better as a whole. As the Panthers we have to be better.
On whether or not he feels better about the first team offense in comparison to six days ago against Miami
It is about the same. We have a lot of things that were answered but also uncertainty with getting guys going. We had a great week of practice but we need to let it carry over into the game. We are going to need another great week of practice to get ready for the Steelers.
On how he looked better tonight on the field and whether or not he felt better
At times I did but it takes me going back and watching the film to just get a grasp of it. I am speaking on a lot of emotions of us losing but I will come back tomorrow, watch film, have a great week of practice and just turn the page.
Greg Olsen, Tight End
Overall game performance and touchdown drive in second half
It was good. It was our first drive coming out of half time. That's always a good thing, the third pre-season game coming out of halftime, having that kind of drive and getting that kind of experience under your belt. We really benefitted from a couple of their penalties, we moved the ball then we were able to convert a couple of short yardage situations so that was good. Then we had the nice touchdown to Mike (Tolbert). We probably could have, should have had at least one if not two touchdown drives there in the first half, so that was disappointing. I think maybe we took a step forward. I don't know how big of a step until we watch the tape.
Shaq Thompson, Linebacker
On the play of the defense and New England's touchdown drive at the end of the first half
Besides that we did a great job. We came out, we had stops andwe were stopping them. Just getting after it. Overall we did great.
If he has season opening butterflies?
No, these games, these pre-games got them out. Just have to keep working and keep getting better.
How has he dealt with getting up to speed after missing time
Just getting help from the guys – AJ (Klein), Thomas Davis, Luke (Kuechly) and everybody just being there helping me learn the playbook and supporting me has helped.
Mike Remmers, Tackle
Brian Folkerts filling in for Ryan Kalil
Brian Folkerts did a great job of stepping in there and filling that huge gap. Ryan Kalil is a great guy and he does an amazing job out there, so it's a big hole to fill and I thought he did a great job. It was a slow start over the first two series but I thought he picked it up and then coming into the second half, just going out there and scoring a touchdown was huge, we did a lot of good stuff. There were still some things we have to get corrected but I thought the whole offensive line group did pretty good.
Guys being ready to step up
Every single day at practice coach throws people into different spots just because in a game situation you never know what is going to happen. Injuries happen and that's an unfortunate part of the game, but it gives other people the opportunity to come in and step up. In the NFL it helps to be able to play a lot of positions. There aren't very many people who are just a guard, just a tackle, or just a center. You have to be versatile and be able to play multiple positions.
The running backs
Those guys make it easy on us. So we just do everything we can to get some lanes open for them for as long as we can and it's fun blocking for those guys. We really appreciate how hard they work every single day and how hard they run the ball so it's great.
His role on the team this season
This has been a completely different year from what I'm used to. The majority of the years I've been a third string guy barely getting any snaps. My rookie year I got eight snaps in the preseason, so I feel extremely blessed to have this opportunity to go out and play. Last year was huge for me being able to go out there and start and have success just to prove to myself that I could do it. I always take the aspect of trying to get better each and every day.
Corey Brown, Wide Receiver
On multiple dropped passes
Not what I'm used to doing. Not what I normally do so I've just got to get back to the drawing board, do what I normally do.
Is it becoming a mental thing with you?
No, not at all. That's why I wanted to play so long tonight. I just wanted to keep going, getting back into to – just get back into catching with the hands. It's just me body catching, not with the hands. It's just not what I'm used to.
Are you in a slump?
No, but its something I know I'm going to overcome. I'm going to come back this week and I'm going to work like I've worked every other week. It's good when you've got people on your side. Everybody here knows, they see me everyday and I know I'm going to be fine. I'm going to relax and start playing like myself again, just trusting my hands and stop using my body.
How you felt when you made the catch
Shoot, finally. You get to a point where you're like, you can't buy – especially on an easy five yard out like I had tonight. Basically the whole time just saying relax and catch it with your hands.
Support from your teammates and coach tonight
I said it earlier. They see me every day. You guys come to practices and see me. They know that this isn't me. This has never been me and it's not going to continue. I'm going to come and and practice and continue to do better.