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Quotes from Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera's conference call - December 26, 2018

Panthers head coach spoke to the media on Wednesday, Dec. 26

Carolina Panthers Head Coach Ron Rivera
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Wednesday, December 26, 2018

What were some of the things you liked about Kyle Allen and some of the things he needs to work on?
"I liked his decision-making, I thought going back to look at those plays (from last week) he made some good decisions, some quick decisions. He has got a good arm, stands tall in the pocket. One thing he's got to get used to is he doesn't have to turn and walk towards the sideline all the time because we do have the in helmet communication, so he's got to get used to that."

Sean Payton hasn't said what he plans to do with the starters, but are you preparing for (Drew) Brees or (Teddy) Bridgewater at quarterback?
"We're always preparing for Drew. That's one of those things that you prepare for, who they have. So we're preparing for Drew, we're preparing for (Alvin) Kamara, we're preparing for (Mark) Ingram, and we're preparing for their best shot."

How different is preparing for this game just considering you just played them last week and everything is so different it seems like with your team and possibly with the Saints?
"You have got to break it down and try to figure out what they figure that you were doing last time. So they know that you know that they know that they're going to try to figure it out so you've got to try to figure something else out. So it's kind of a guessing game really because you have look at it and figure out how they want to approach you."

What do you think it about the competitor relationship between Drew (Brees) and Luke (Kuechly) with how much they've played each other and how well they seem to know and respect each other?
"I think it is one of the really neat things about being in the division. You compete against each other twice a year. There's kind of a professional respect and relationship you develop. I think it's one of the really neat things about this league and I know Luke holds Drew in high esteem because he talks about him, about what he does and all that. I think that's kind of a neat deal."

With the Saints having already locked up the number one seed, you guys being out of the playoffs, not having your starting quarterback, is it a challenge finding the right buttons to push to motivate guys to play this game?
"Very much so. It's a challenge. At the end of the day, it really comes down to the players controlling it themselves. I can say what I want to say and try and do things the way I want to do them, but it really does come down to the guys stepping up. It's difficult. I get it. I have been there. This is my 30th year in the league so I've seen all kinds of things happen. At the end of the day it's really about getting yourself ready to go, getting yourself prepared, and then playing. We'll see how we handle it."

That touchdown for Chris Manhertz was obviously the biggest play of his career, but what has he added to the team came over there?
"He is just a solid tight end. He has a good skill set. He is still raw. He is still learning. He was a basketball player in college so a lot of things that we're doing are new for him, but he has done a nice job in his growth and he's an exciting guy for us. I really like who he is as a football player."

I wondered if you had any observations on Sheldon Rankins who is arguably one of the more improved players on the New Orleans Saints this season, a first round draft pick a couple years ago who was hurt early in his career, but any sense of how he's elevated their defense?
"I know this much: the most important thing for a linebacker is a large body in front of you. A guy that eats up space and he does a heck of a job doing it. He is also a good pass rusher. He pushes the pocket. He's a big physical guy and when your linebackers can run, they get a chance to make plays."

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