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Cam Newton, Carolina Coach Ron Rivera talk about Saints game

The pair spoke with New Orleans media Wednesday



Carolina Panthers Quarterback Cam Newton
Conference Call with Local Media
Wednesday, December 18, 2013

I was talking to a Saints player the other day and he said you will probably be happy to watch that film of them against the Rams.  What did you see out of that and did you think there is something to this thing that the Saints can't play as well on the road?

"It is not anything that we are more excited to watch the Rams game. We are more excited to watch our film on what we did not do whether than watching another team play because those weren't our plays that we didn't execute.  It is all going to come down to the same thing when we watch this film and we watch their film, it is going to come down to us as an offense executing and putting on a better performance than we did two weeks ago."

When you look back at that game against the Saints, can you pinpoint what went wrong or what needs to be corrected?

"It is just overall game play. As an offense we didn't get the job done. We put our defense in compromised situations being at those guys are very lethal and dangerous at home.  For us, we didn't play Panther football offensively and from the looks of it, special teams or as a defense.  We are a better team than what we showed that day and we have an opportunity to prove that come Sunday."

How big is this game for you that you get the chance to try to beat the Saints in week 16 and take a one game lead on them in the NFC South in week 16?

"This is the biggest game of the year not because of all the hype that is going into it.  It is the biggest game for us because this is our next game.  We have had the approach that each and every week and it has put us in this position right now.  For us, we are not going to go into this preparation like we did everything else because at the end of the day this is our next game.  We didn't pick it, those guys just showed up on our schedule.  We were excited to have that opportunity to play those guys a couple weeks ago.  We didn't succeed and we have an opportunity to prove it, not only to ourselves, but to everyone else that we are the real deal."

When you look at the struggles against the Saints pass rush, how much was it execution versus game plan?

"It was just as much execution as it was game plan.  It is not no pointing fingers this way about who didn't get their job done or who did get their job done.  A long story short, we didn't get the job done as an offense.  That is going to need to increase for us to have any type of chance of winning this game coming up."

When Junior Galette got a sack against you he mocked your superhero impression.  Is that something that sparks you?

"It is not the first time it has happened and it won't be the last time.  For him doing that it does nothing to me.  The only thing that I am ticked about is that I got sacked in the first place.  I could have stepped up in the pocket.  I should have thrown the football away to negate that type of outlook. For me, it is all about playing my game, the offense as a whole, if we do that we will be alright."

Are you impressed or flattered by his move?

"No sir.  I am not focused on judging people's talks after sacking me. That is not something that I look for, two, that is not something that I even focus any energy of. Like I said, if I would have stepped up in the pocket or I threw the football away, we wouldn't even be having this discussion and that is what I plan on doing in this game coming up.  Sacks or drops are killers and momentum slingers and we can't give those guys any momentum in this game because the team that has the most spark will win this football game come Sunday."

What is the mood like out there in the locker room and on the practice field?

"Everyone is excited to seize this moment come gameday.  We are going to need everybody's help in doing that from our fans to great coaches, great players making plays.  It is not any different than any game that we haven't been prepared for this year and a lot of guys are excited to seize this opportunity and make the most of it."

Carolina Panthers Head Coach Ron Rivera
Conference Call with Local Media
Wednesday, December 18, 2013

I was reading that you implored upon the fans to make this a big game and Cam (Newton) just said we need help from everyone we can get.  I know you talk about how it is just the next game, but having the ability to take a one game lead in the division at home and control your own destiny, how big is that?

"It's very big obviously because so much is at stake.  I also think for us as a team and franchise going forward to be able to have it played in our stadium with our home crowd behind us, I think that really helps.  I think it will be very exciting and send a great message to our fans that with their support we can accomplish anything."

When you look back at that game against the Saints, can you pinpoint what went wrong or what needs to be corrected?

"I can tell you right off the bat red zone. We go to the red zone twice the first two times we get the ball and we take two field goals.  They did a great job I think with what Rob (Ryan) did defensively was good and it kept us out the end zone and kept their offense in a great situation because the next time they get the ball they convert on third down and go down and score a touchdown and (they go) up 7-6.  To me it is about what happened in the red zone more than anything else.  We have to be better there.  We cannot allow that.  Then in the last four minutes of the first half the Saints scored 14 points and went up 21-6.  Again, to me, it was about the way we played in the red zone and the effectiveness they had in the red zone against us."

How difficult is it to bring your team back together after a loss like that?

"Again, it really depends on the players.  The way everyone approaches it and the way it has to be handled.  It most certainly is going to be a playoff atmosphere.  It will be a great way to see where we are as a franchise, where we are as a team and the same thing for them.  This is going to be a heck of a challenge for everyone and honestly I am very excited about it."

The Saints announced today they are benching Charles Brown for rookie Terron Armstead, was he someone you looked at in the draft?

"The truth of the matter is, you have to do what is best for the team and Sean (Payton) probably thought it was the best (thing for the team).  Terron (Armstead) was someone we most certainly did interview.  We brought him in.  I had a chance to visit with him (before the draft) and liked who he is as a football player.  This is not like they are putting out (there) someone who doesn't know how to play or doesn't have the ability.  This is a good young football player and he will do the best he can.  Sean's a very bright coach and he has some good people around him and he is going to help him (Armstead) out and not necessarily leave the young man out there on his own on his first big start."

How difficult is it to make these tough moves at the end of the season?

"I think you have to look at why it was done.  Was there something else?  Was this to maybe give Charles Brown a little shot in the arm?  Was this to send a message to the team?  Was this to put a kid (in) they have been looking to give an opportunity to?  Again, he is the only one that knows and can tell you why he did it.  It is as big a game as it is going to get.  He wants to do it this way.  Again, he is the one making the decision what he believes is best for his team."

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