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Quotes from the Carolina Panthers - Week 15

The Carolina Panthers spoke to the media following their week 15 game against the New Orleans Saints on Monday, Dec. 17

Head Coach Ron Rivera

Carolina Panthers

RE: Not clicking for offense tonight

Well we just missed a couple opportunities. We missed a couple throws, a couple blocks and had a chance for a couple catches. It was tough. We moved the ball right before the half and Cam [Newton] went to throw the fade and the corner made a really good play. We got the jump ball up to [Devin] Funchess that we wanted and he undercut and got inside of Funch. That was a tough one. We make a big play, had a big run going and unfortunately we fumbled. Again, it is hard to fault when a young man is fighting his butt off to try and put up into position. That's the hard part. A couple of self‐inflicted wounds that hurt us.  

RE: How the season has gone with one side of the ball playing well while the other does not

We played smart on the defensive side and were able to keep the ball in front of us. Because we did that we were able to give ourselves a chance, give ourselves the opportunity. I thought the guys competed as a team. I thought they came out and tried to do some things. We had some pluses and some opportunities and unfortunately we missed out. I really appreciate the great effort and that's all you can ask this time of year is that your guys go out and compete and give you great effort.  

RE: Will you consider sitting Cam Newton for last two games?

No. What we are going to do is see how the week goes right now. Again, we will continue to evaluate and see what the doctors have to say. But, the route has been the same and will continue.  

RE: Hard to not have down field options due to Cam Newton's shoulder soreness?

The hard part again obviously is you try to take what they give you. We will see. We will go from there. 

RE: Is this the most complete effort from the defense this season?

Yes, I would most certainly give them praise. I thought they competed. I thought they did some good things. They took the ball away when they had to. They scored when we had an opportunity. Donte's [Jackson] return was spectacular. The young man has played very well for us at times and he has made a couple of young mistakes. But that's the kind of effort you expect from your guys and you can expect from us from here on out. I really appreciated the way they handled things and I think we can continue to go and get better.  

RE: Christian McCaffrey touchdown pass

It was just a little something that Norv [Turner] had been cooking up for a while. Was looking for the right opportunity and that's what this was. This was the right opportunity to call it. They were very aggressive and that's what happened. We caught them being overly aggressive and Christian was able to complete it. It was well executed. 

RE: IF someone told you before the game you would hold the Saints to 12 points you would probably like your chances

All I needed was 5%. That's it. Just give me a chance. 

RE: Interception before half

Again, you have to give a guy credit. He is getting paid too. He went up, made a nice play and was in position. We would have loved to have been able to score there. Who knows. But again, we had a chance, and that's all you can ask for.  

RE: Handling the pressure as the leader of the team

That's the nature of it. Again, I try to do the best we can. We come out and go to work. I really appreciate, like I said, the effort we got from our guys. It was an interesting week, a lot of rain. But the guys went out and practiced, practiced in the conditions, prepared. I thought they came out and gave us the kind of effort that gives you the chance to win a football game.  

RE: Circumstances surrounding interception of pass intended for Devin Funchess at the end of first half

I thought the corner did a nice job getting all the way underneath him and undercutting the play. If he is a halfstep late or his jump is mistimed, I think we have a chance to catch the touchdown pass. But again, the corner made a nice play.  

RE: Is Cam Newton's shoulder soreness affecting the way he throws the short pass?

Again, I think you'll have to ask him. I'm not going to try and guess as to what he is going through. I would never do that. I think the young man is a courageous guy who fights and tries to do the best he can for us.  

RE: Devin Funchess' role in this offense since injury

I think it all a matter of location. Coach has a couple of personnel groupings that he uses and he likes. There is a couple that include Funchess and there are a couple that don't. When Coach gets into a rhythm, he calls the personnel groupings and Funchess comes out and does his job and works hard, just as he does in practice.  

RE: Decision to start Marshall Newhouse

Chris Clark was laboring a little bit and we just wanted to give him an opportunity to rest a little bit and also wanted to see what Newhouse could do.  

RE: What does laboring for Clark mean?

I think just being worn down. Giving him an opportunity, it was a chance to allow him to rest.

RE: If the fumble was a learning experience for DJ Moore

Oh yeah. Again, just a great effort. You have to give them credit. The guy came up from behind and punched the ball out. 

RE: Players remaining positive with 6 game losing streak

I think it speaks well to who they are more so than anything else. That they come out, they practice and they compete. They are not just going to show up. These young men are going to come out and fight and do their jobs. That's all you can ask is that these guys come out and do that. 

RE: Maturity of Donte Jackson to come back with interception after defensive pass interference

That's a corner's mentality. You have to be able to move on to the next play. He did. I really appreciate the way he competes and the way he tries to make things happen. I think the young man has a bright future in this league.  

RE: Do you foresee having a conversation with Cam Newton about taking him out like in the Tampa Bay game of 2016?

We will see. Like I said, we have to let the doctors and the trainers let him go through his normal week and we will see what happens. Again, until then, I can't tell you anything different.  .

RE: Did defense come in today frustrated with how they have been portrayed over the last few weeks?

They may have. You'll have to ask them. I just know that they came in and worked very hard, working on their techniques, working on some of their coverages that we have done. Like I said, I really appreciate what they have done in terms of the hard work and the effort.  

RE: Was this loss any tougher than the others with the defense playing the way that they did?

They are all tough. They really are. It's a team thing. We had opportunities and we didn't come through. Again, you win as a team and you lose as a team.

Quarterback Cam Newton
Carolina Panthers

RE: How does your shoulder feel?

It's alright.

RE: Where did the offense struggle to find consistency after the Chris Manhertz touchdown?

I'm not sure. We didn't hold up our end of the bargain today. We just didn't sustain drives. The defense that we played against, they're pretty good. We just have to do a better job. Our defense played a hell of a game and we have to reward them when they do those things. Two turnovers in the red zone. It just comes down to execution and sustaining drives. We didn't do that.

RE: Thought on the touchdown attempt to Devin Funchess

I just tried to give him a chance. I saw man to man and he won. I was trying to give Fun [Devin Funchess] an opportunity. That's pretty much it.

RE: What had to go differently to complete the pass to Devin Funchess?

I tried to give him an opportunity. I saw man to man. I tried to put it in an area where he could kind of contest it. It could be higher. It could be on the back pylon or whatever, but I mean that's just the frustration of what these last couple of games have been. You wish you would have done this, you wish you would have done that. You try to hesitate and do certain things and be perfect, but it's still not good enough.

RE: Correlation between practice reps and timing

You can point out or finger point, I wouldn't necessarily say finger point, but you can wish you did certain things throughout the week. This has been my regimen for a while now. So me not throwing two days out of the week, I mean there are some things that you miss and at the end of the day you wish you could have those things back. You can't practice enough. You can't work on timing enough, but I don't think certain things came down to timing today. Just poor execution.  

RE: How ready are you to return to your normal routine?

I wish I could tell you. I think the frustration comes when you do any and everything to make sure your body is at peak performance. From cardio, treatment, practice, film, cardio, treatment, practice, film. It's been repetition. I think it's disheartening to me because there's so much invested time put in. I don't want to play the "woe is me" game, but I have to be better. That's what's so frustrating. When you want it so bad and you push. You put so much on your plate and you know it doesn't come down to you, but at the end of the day you just have to uphold your end of the bargain. When certain things don't happen, that's when frustration comes. That's why I'm frustrated. It's not necessarily about practice, which it is to a degree, but when you've been doing something over a certain time you kind of get in a regimen of when you're supposed to do certain things. Obviously my arm hasn't allowed me to do a lot of practice. I've been on a pitch count for a long time, but at the end of the day it is what it is. That's not a scape goat. That's not something that I want people to bail me out on. It's just something that is reality. 

RE: How do you get off that pitch count?

I don't know.

RE: What does your shoulder feel like after a game?

For people who…labrum, rotator cuff, just shoulder soreness. I wish I could say what the injury is because I don't really know what it is either. No matter how much you push, no matter how much you ice, the antiinflammatory you take. Trust me, I've done it. Acupuncture, massages. There's not a night that goes by without me getting some type of work done on my arm. You just don't have the strength. From the range of motion, you work on the range of motion then come game time and you never know how the game can play out. Of course you try to stay under 25‐30 throws, but if you surpass that or you get hit on it or you have to run or you get tackled and fall on your shoulder, certain things happen. That's the game of football. As far as stiffness, just muscle tension, there's a lot going on. At the end of the day it's not something that hasn't got worse over the weeks or hasn't got better over the weeks. It's just been the same.

RE: Is the pain affecting how you throw the ball?

I wouldn't say so, no. I think the thing is when you talk to the different people who can help you with it, there is no magical surgery. It's just time. I've been hearing that since the injury happened, but when you look around the league and you see guys doing certain things that you know you're capable of doing, whatever it is. I feel as if this team has everything that it needs to go to the next level. Even with me and the position that I am in, it still didn't come down to my arm tonight. It still comes down to execution. You can't praise the defense enough. Those guys battled, gave us opportunities, gave us opportunities and more opportunities. It's just on us to sustain drives and take the tension and pressure off those.

RE: Key to tonight's close game

It's a divisional game. We are very familiar with what those guys do, even though this was our first time playing. And vice versa. I wasn't shocked that the game played out the way it played out. We just have to find ways to win.

RE: Are you considering sitting out?

That's not on me. My job is to do the things that I can control and for me at this particular point in time, I don't have an answer for you. I know, and I'll make public, that I have tried and done everything. I think the frustration, like I said before, comes when no matter what you do – you can rub magic dust on it, go to this or that person, have the placebo things done where you think certain things are what they are – and you come out and you're still the same. Like I said, over the past couple of weeks nothing has really changed.  

RE: Response to potentially being asked to sit out of Sunday's game

I guess we'll have to have that conversation if we have that conversation. I'm not looking forward to that conversation.

RE: How frustrating is it to not be able to do the things you know you can do?

I mean he [Ryan Kalil] knows. He had the same situation. Like I said, it's one thing to have shoulder soreness, but when you talk about labrum and certain things on your throwing shoulder you just have to be very strategic of how you do certain things. The way I play, it is what it was. I don't necessarily know when it happened. It felt good early on, but from running to constant throwing, but whatever.

RE: Will it bother you if you're not on the field Sunday?

I don't know. 

RE: Would you consider surgery?

I don't know. At this particular point, I don't know. I've been eager to go to RV's office every week, eager to find out what it is. Did you find what it is? What am I supposed to do? What do we have to do? It is what it is. It is what we expect it to be. It's not getting better, it's not getting worse. It's just a lot of soreness and tension in the joints.

Check out more of the game action from the New Orleans Saints week 15 game against the Carolina Panthers on Monday, Dec. 17

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