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Carolina Panthers conference calls

Audio and transcripts from head coach Ron Rivera and quarterback Cam Newton's conference calls with local media

Carolina Panthers Head Coach Ron Rivera
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Wednesday, December 2, 2015

What has changed about Cam Newton this year?

"Well I think the truth of the matter is a lot of it began last year. I think people were thinking oh when it happened, but it's been a work in progress. He's been working at his game ever since he got here. Last year I think it was probably the beginning of it because our offense is kind of changed as well. It has kind of morphed, some of the things Mike Shula has done. He has created an offense that plays into Cam's skillset, gives him an opportunity to make decisions and change plays and different things like that, but he has really worked on his base fundamentals. His footwork has been outstanding, decision making is even quicker than in years past. He is really just kind of taken over and you really saw that in my opinion last year in Week 13."

When you look at the Saints defense, are there any changes?

"Well, just a few things they did. I think a lot of it is it's hard to come in and put in a new system in, but I think a lot of it is determined by the coordinator personality, and I like what they did. I thought under Dennis they did some things a little bit differently. I saw a couple things that reminded me of things I have seen in the past. He looked to be aggressive and I thought they had some opportunities, and unfortunately for them it just didn't work out."

The current 15 game win streak started here a year ago. Is there something that sparked it here?

"I think it was the first time we came out and used our no huddle offense. Again it's one of the things that Mike (Shula) had been working on and Cam had the offseason ankle surgery and then cracking the rib during training camp he just kind of put everything on hold until he was 100 percent healthy and we really felt going into that Saints game last year that was the opportunity to unveil it and it really went well. (It was) Something different and new to them that they didn't see and I think that helped us."

What kind of advantages does Greg Olsen and Josh Norman give you?

"Again, I think Greg is one of those route running tight ends that you have to pay attention to. If teams are going to play single-high or some sort of quarters coverage, it is one of those things where the safety does have to pay attention to where he is. He can't favor way too much to the receiver side. He always has to be aware of Greg's ability to get vertical, so it forces the safeties to play honestly. If they do cheat one way or the other then Cam sees that he can go opposite of where the safety is leading. I think that helps there. I think with Josh, it allows your safety to favor opposite of Josh. Those are the types of things that playing with Josh's skill set helps. We have been the benefactor of his ability to make plays."

What kind of season is Drew Brees is having?

"Well, you know it is unfair because Drew does so much and he makes so many things happen and they are struggling. It's unfortunate because they are a good football team and have good players. I like the skill players around him and they have the ability to make plays and be explosive. I just think they are trying to find themselves, and I know it's the 12th regular season game, but they're still an explosive offensive unit with the ability to make some quick strikes. Again, it's just one of those things you have to go out there and respect who they are because of the playmakers they have on the offensive side. Respect their offensive line because they have big physical guys on it and, again, if you look at their defense and see the names that they have, these guys make plays, and right now they are just trying to find themselves."

What do you make of Drew in particular and how he has handled this?

"I think it's been tough and he is handling it like a pro and he is going to play hard and try and beat you and he wants to win and that's the thing that I see. You can see him as the game gets closer and closer trying to make plays happen, and with his ability and decision making they are never out of a game."


Carolina Panthers Quarterback Cam Newton
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Wednesday, December 2, 2015

What has changed for you this year? Do you feel more comfortable with what you guys are running or do you just feel more mature about the game? Did it slow down for you?

"Nothing necessarily changed. It's just guys are making plays when their numbers are called. There is no magic dust or anything that is special. It is just guys finding a way to win football games."

How much does it help that you have been healthy this season?

"It is pretty big. It gives me confidence and it gives everybody else confidence. Everybody is getting healthy, not only myself."

What have you seen out of the Saints defense? Did you see any changes last week when they went to a new defensive coordinator?

"You can change the makeup of a team but they still are who they are. We know that we have added questions for us, to try to find out how they are going to attack us. We pretty much have a whole gist of things that we want to attack them with. They are a team that likes to get after the quarterback. They like to pressure the opposing offenses and we understand that. We can't allow those guys to do that. They are good at disguising different looks and confusing the offense."

You've played with Greg Olsen for a while now; how much does he mean to you and that offense?

"Greg means a lot because he is so trustworthy at any time in the game. He just steps up to the plate and does his job."

*Did you guys see something specific with him against the Saints the first time? He had a lot of success. *

"No, it was just execution. We know going into each and every game plan that we want to attack the defense as best as we can. If those guys (present) opportunities for us to attack them downfield, we want to do that."

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