Carolina Panthers Head Coach Ron Rivera
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Wednesday, January 3, 2018
When playing a team that you are this familiar with, how do you balance things you are good at doing versus guarding against things that are too familiar?
"A lot of things that you have to look at are things that you had success with and things you didn't and try to figure out why. Then try to correct those things. You are going to do what you do and they are going to do what they do. There may be a wrinkle or two but for the most part they are going to do what they do. So again, go out there and understand what you had success with and understand what you didn't and make your adjustments from there."
How much does having Greg Olsen in this match-up change your offense?
"Well, we do some things with Greg that we didn't get the chance to do when he wasn't with us. Those will be the bigger differences."
How much do you think you missed him (Olsen) in the first two games against the Saints this season?
"Well, we miss him but again we still got outplayed by Saints."
What are some of the things that Greg brings to your offense?
"We know Greg is a pass catching threat. Good route runner and has good hands."
Do you think playoff experience is overrated?
"I think there's something to it and I think we sometimes get caught up in something like that. Again, they have got some guys that have been in the playoffs and they have some guys that have been to the Super bowl. I do not know how people will interpret it or look at it, but they have some very experienced guys and a very experienced coaching staff. So, I think both teams have guys that haven't experienced it yet and our job, the veteran players, the guys that have been there, the coaching staff, the guys that have been there it is our job to make sure that everybody understands what playoff football is all about."
How much does playoff experience for coaches matter?
"I think it is important as well. I don't think it applies to either coaching staff, because we have all been there and again Coach Payton has taken that team to the Super Bowl and won it. We have gone to a Super Bowl and unfortunately we didn't win it. For the most part, we are pretty much the same group and I think Coach (Payton) still has pretty good group of guys that are with him when they went."
On the flip side, of you guys having Greg Olsen, the Saints are going to have (Marshon) Lattimore back who didn't play in either of the Saints-Panther games as well. How does he change their defense?
"He is really one of the good young and upcoming corners in this league. The guy has had a terrific season, and when he is healthy and on the field he is most certainly somebody you have to be aware of as far as what they are going to do and how they are going to do things with their defense. It gives coach (Dennis) Allen another weapon to feature out there and what he wants to do and the way he wants to do things."
What took you by surprise on the way the Saints played in week three against you guys?
"Honestly, nothing. You have Drew Brees. Let's not forget they (Saints) have a first ballot Hall of Famer. The dude is special. It does not matter if they are 0-2 or 0-5. They're going to come out and are going to play well just because of who he is, it was a divisional game. I really expected them to come out and play as well as they did. I took nothing for granted as far as that football team is concerned. I really think they are very well-coached. I think they have some really quality personnel."
Do you think a late season performance is indicative in any way of how a team will transition in the postseason?
"I think a team is going to play way the way they practice. A team is going to play the way they gain momentum. A team is going to play the way things happen and unfold in a game. If they are well-prepared, I think they will play well. If not, they won't. It is just that simple. I mean, you go out and you look at the opponent, and you have to give credit to the opponent once in a while as well. Not necessarily whether you played bad or not sometimes you get beat by a team that played well."
Do you think health can be indicative of going .500 in the last six games?
"Oh, very much so. I think health plays into a lot of things. I think it changes a lot of things that happen. But again, sometimes it is dumb luck, sometimes an unfortunate play or two that happens against you. So again there are a lot of reasons to go through games and determine why things happen, why they won or why they lost. I would say this to, and I mean this. Nobody should have sold Tampa Bay short. We watch how they did things against Atlanta, the way they played against us (Panthers) and the way they played against New Orleans. I promise you, those guys at Tampa Bay wish they had about five more games left to play. They're playing very well. To sit there and say, New Orleans has not played well, maybe the team they played against played pretty good."
Why do you think your team has been inconsistent at times?
"Making plays and missing opportunities. I think that is a big part of when you have a loss. You are going through and you can break the entire season down. We had opportunities to win games. New Orleans came in a beat us pretty good the first game. Then we turn around and win a game. Then we come back and play Philadelphia and have a chance to win. We had a chance to win all the way down to the very end. Unfortunately, we didn't. We didn't make the play. We go to Chicago and we have two turnovers that go for touchdowns. I mean who would have thought that. There are a lot of things that go into what happens. There really is no one reason. That is why we do film study in terms of breaking games down afterwards and try to find answers and see if we can get those things corrected."
Would you guys take confidence being that you guys beat two of top three teams in the league?
"No. I don't think that is overplayed. I think that is a reality, but at the same time we are playing against a team that has beat us twice. We again have to play well. As I said earlier, have to figure out what went well and improve on that and (figure out) what went wrong and correct that."