Carolina Panthers Head Coach Matt Rhule
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Wednesday, October 21, 2020
When you watch the Saints offense, do you see a lot of similarities of what you are doing with Coach Brady?
"Yes, I think obviously Joe learned under coach Payton and I think it's the same template."
How much does it help for continuity that Teddy Bridgewater and Joe worked together in New Orleans in 2018?
"I think it was a game-changer with no offseason and not OTAs, really we've been playing football for just two months or two and a half months. Had it been someone new, the language, all that stuff would have been really hard. They were able to sit in a room and a lot of the language was similar, some of it being new and different. Joe's put his own twist on a lot of things obviously, but it's the same basic premise, same overall philosophy and I think it really has helped us."
For you as a head coach, what has it been like to take over during a pandemic with all the challenges and protocols?
"It certainly is less than ideal. It's been a challenge. Monday and Tuesday being an NFL coach and working from home, there's all kinds of challenges. My job is to overcome those challenges. I think the part that is probably the hardest is not having a ton of time to build relationships with the guys, that this is an emotional game. You want to have relationships with the guys, you want them to know that they can come to you and trust you. With no offseason and obviously now being six feet away from each other, wearing masks and all these different protocols, it just makes it difficult. It is what it is. We're just trying to make the most of the opportunities that we have."
What would you say has been Teddy Bridgewater's best trait since acquiring him?
"I think he's a natural born leader. I think guys want to play for him and at the same time, he unbelievably smart football wise, does a great job of understanding what we're trying to get done, explaining it to others, having his own take on what we should get done. I think because of that he helps people play better, guys follow him and I think that's because he's a tremendous leader."
What's he like in the film room?
"He has tremendous attention to detail. He also has a nice global understanding of football, of concepts, some guys only see turn left and turn right. He's able to see the big picture and you take that and the great work ethic that he has and it really allows him to be a special player."
Did those five games Teddy started in New Orleans last year, play a factor in bringing him aboard?
"I think a lot was to see him on tape, see him in a system very similar to this how he would play and what he would look like. To me, when you see him play, you know he's a really good player and it makes you want to bring him on board. The fact that he wins, that's what he did at Louisville, that's what he did at Minnesota, that's what he did in New Orleans, so you had the confidence that he could do it here."
Can you feel a sense of more intensity in this series with the Saints just with the fact of both Teddy and Joe Brady being here after their tenures in New Orleans?
"I don't feel that. You'd have to ask those guys. I try to preach to everybody here to be the same guy every week, have the same process every week, to be steady, so I hope not. I hope they're just very locked in to doing their jobs and that everyone else with follow along."
What has Robby Anderson brought to that receiver group?
"Just a dynamic presence, a competitive toughness, he plays, practices so hard, it carries over to the game. That to me's contagious."
Does Robby's presence help D.J. Moore in any way?
"I think D.J.'s a great player in his own right. When we have D.J., Curtis (Samuel) and Robby, I think it makes us a complete offense. Obviously we didn't have Curtis last week, but when we have the three of those guys, each guy is able to play to his strengths and I think they feed off of each other making plays. To me, it's a really strong receiving corps. Each guy I believe brings a lot to the table in their own right."
Can you talk about Eli Apple and Keith Kirkwood?
"Unfortunately for Eli he hasn't played yet. It's just been a series of things for him that he's tried to overcome. Unfortunately Keith got back last week and then rebroke his collarbone and is in surgery today. Both of those guys are good guys and good players. They just haven't been able to get healthy unfortunately."
Donte Jackson's been a guy that's been there for a couple years, but what have you seen from him in terms of the consistency you've had in the secondary?
"I thought in games two and three, he had an interception each game, really, really played well. Unfortunately he's been battling a toe, so he's been in and out of the lineup, but Donte to me is the kind of guy you want to build around. He's a tough guy who works hard, he has a great attitude, work ethic, ball skills. To me it's a matter of keeping him healthy and using him healthy."
Can you talk about your experience coaching in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome?
"I coached the last Sugar Bowl when we played Georgia, my last game at Baylor. With the Giants, the Saints came to us (2012)."
How much of an advantage is it having fans in there and playing them with only 3,000 fans?
"At this point, I think all of us in the NFL are used to this crazy year of not having fans. We went to Atlanta a couple weeks ago, no one there. I think it's just kind of the unfortunate new normal that we're all kind of dealing with, because the NFL's one of the greatest sports there is because of the fans, so as much as you like it not be loud, you always miss the fans because they allow us to do what we do."