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Wildcard Playoff Postgame Quotes: Carolina Panthers

Read postgame reactions from the Carolina Panthers

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New Orleans Saints vs Carolina Panthers**

NFC Wild Card Playoff Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018 ● Mercedes-Benz Superdome

Panthers Postgame Quotes

Opening remarks:
"Disappointment. We had an opportunity. I liked what we were doing down the stretch. I thought that we had a chance to score on that last drive. I feel like it was kind of taken away from us (by the penalty). That's a tough one to handle. I want to give credit to what the Saints did and the way they played. I thought that some of the things that they did was outstanding."

On the intentional grounding penalty against them on their final drive:
"Our quarterback was out of the pocket. I thought that there was a receiver in the vicinity. I thought that the ball was past the line of scrimmage."

On if he received an explanation on the intentional grounding penalty from the game officials:
"I did not get an explanation. I was trying to get one just so that I could understand why it was called."

On if he thought a receiver was in the area on the intentional grounding penalty:
"Oh yeah, without question. (Devin) Funchess was going to the corner and Cam (Newton) was trying to throw the ball in that direction and got hit as he was throwing it. The ball's going to come out wobbly. My understanding is that it went beyond the line of scrimmage and he (Newton) was out of the pocket."

On Cam Newton going through the concussion protocol:
"No, he actually got poked in the eye. They took him in there for precautionary just to make sure. When he was sitting on the ground, they were trying to wipe (around his eye) where he got poked. That's what that was. We wanted him to sit down to give (Derek Anderson) a chance to warm up. He (Newton) was injured. He stood up and right as walked off. We wanted him to take a knee so that we could give our (backup quarterback) guy a couple of throws. I do not know what they did in the tent. When I came out onto the field, he (Newton) had said that he got poked in the eye. That's what he said."

On the frustration of losing a close game today:
"It's very frustrating. Again, we played against a very good football team that did some really good things. They made plays when they needed to. Unfortunately, we didn't make a play (when we needed it most). We had a chance. That's all that you can really ask for is a chance. I thought that the guys rallied. I am very proud of the effort that they gave. I am very proud of the way that they stepped up and made things happen at the end of the game. We missed our chance. That is a tough pill to swallow."

On Ted Ginn's first quarter touchdown catch:
"It made a big difference. They got up on us a little bit early. They were able to do some of the things that they wanted to. The disappointing this is we were able to handle the (Saints) rushing game, but we gave up too many plays over the top. That was probably the biggest one, obviously, all day. Teddy still has that speed…..He got a good, clean read. He was their number two (option). It is a play we call 'Dagger'. He runs right through the middle of the defense, trying to pull everybody out. Really, the deep dig's the primary target. If we'd been able to get the safety over a little bit (that would have made a difference. Ted got inside of the safety and split him to the corner."

On scoring field goals early, but not enough touchdowns:
"You go back and look at it, we kicked four, I think it was. You are not going to win football games if you do that, especially against a really good football team like this."

On the interception by Mike Adams rather than him batting it down to get better field position on what would have been a turnover on downs:
"He's excited (during the play). He's got a chance to make a play. He's got a chance to make sure that they don't get a first down. It's just one of those things. You wish that he would have dropped it or batted it down, just knowing the situation and circumstances."

On the team not being able to get over the hump after a great regular season:
"You say that we have a nemesis. They (the Saints) were certainly our nemesis this year. Again, I don't want to take away anything that they did. I thought that Sean Payton and his coaches did a tremendous job. I thought their players came out and played hard. They got the leg up on us."

On the loss:
"This kind of epitomizes the season. Close, we were close. The guys fought and did a lot of good things in spite of all the things that went on, all of the good things and the bad things. Our guys kept fighting and being very resilient. It all started all the way through with OTAs, minicamps, training camp, right on through to the very end. The guys fought. When we got here, I know that a lot of people didn't give us a chance, but we are here. That was probably the biggest thing."

On containing Drew Brees better in the second half of the game:
"Some of the things we did (were different). We were a little more physical with the receivers. We tried to take away the quicker throws and underneath throws. When he has time, he's going to find players downfield. Unfortunately, that's what he did. He got a little bit too much time a couple of times and was able to advance the ball downfield. That is really what got us, too. Their chunk yardage was tremendous. They did a great job with that stuff."

On his new contract extension:
"I am very appreciative, I really am, with what the organization has done showing a little continuity going forward. I think that's going to be important for us that there's going to be some continuity. I don't know what's going to happen from this point. We will see. I think that it's a good sign for us as an organization and as a football team, having that. We will go from there."

On if he may have to replace a coordinator:
"I know that Steve (Wilks) is a hot commodity, deservedly so. He has done a tremendous job wherever he's been, starting in Chicago and San Diego and down here with us. It's going to be a tough one. Him and Sean (McDermott) are two very good people who are very special to this organization. We helped build this team. I don't want to talk as if Steve is gone, but I have a hunch. It might be his time."

On his message to the team:
"They did a helluva job. They gave great effort. They should be proud of where we got to, because nobody gave us a chance. I personally felt they epitomized what we're all about as a football team. They showed some tremendous resilience."

Quarterback Cam Newton
On hit he took in the 4th quarter that required medical attention:
"I know it was precautionary concussion protocol things that happened, but it wasn't my head. It was my eye. My helmet had come down low enough over my eyelid and it got pressed by the player's stomach, I believe. I thought maybe somebody stuck a finger in my eye, but [I have] a visor, so that couldn't happen."

On the intentional grounding call in the fourth quarter:
"It does not matter what I think, but I can tell you this and I kind of heard a couple of answers in the locker room. That game did not come down to that play. We can call it what it is, but we could have played better as a team. So for that situation to take place at hand, it's a slighted call either way you call it. That game didn't come down to just one call that could have went either way."

On his emotions after game:
"Frustrated for obvious reasons. This roster, I'd love to keep it my whole career, but certain things just have to happen. And I hate that I could not do enough to get a win today for a lot of guys that I think so highly of. So, that is my emotions. This game brings men together. You have love bonds for the rest of your life. For me to take my last snaps with a couple players on this team, that's kind of the hardest part about this."

On Owner Jerry Richardson addressing team for last time today:
"I have a really good relationship with Mr. Richardson. As far as a whole team outlook, the fact that our season cut short right now that's kind of hard for us to believe. Especially what transpired over this year. The sacrifices that a lot of people took."

On if he took pride in team getting to this point with all that happened during season:
"I think that's where we go wrong. We didn't come here just to get a shot. We came here to win. And that's what we didn't do. I kind of caught a sense of a lot people just being satisfied with being in the playoffs…I will learn from this and I will get better from it."

On if he feels there is a lack of offensive weapons:
"I just got to be better. I am not going to take the coward way and point somebody else out. I feel like plenty of times this year it was up to me. I do believe I am the leader of this team and the team goes as I go. That comes with a lot of responsibility. But we all are professional athletes, no matter when you get picked, how you get picked, you are on a football team of 53, that people would die for that opportunity. The fact the we [have] talented guys that [are] on this team at the receiver position, at the running back position, at the line position. Offensively, I feel like as a whole it still starts with me."

Tight End Greg Olsen
On early struggles:
"We spotted them too many there at the beginning not being able to score in the red zone. Going 0-2 there or 0-3. We got six points. That was the difference in the game." "We just didn't do a good job. We moved the ball pretty much at will the whole game. We just struggled in the first half in the red zone and it turned out to be points that we kept chasing"

On contract extension for Coach Rivera:
"I think it's great. A no-brainer. I think he is one of the greatest assets we have as an organization. To see them recognize that and give him what he so rightly deserved, I think is a good sign."

Center Ryan Kalil
On early struggles:
"I think we put ourselves in a bad position. We did a good job marching down the field and got in the red zone and couldn't convert. What happens is you end up chasing points and against that offense, it's tough."

On coming up short after almost coming back:
"Regardless of the outcome, it's frustrating to lose. The whole season is for this part of the game. I felt like we had a good game plan. We didn't execute. We didn't get it done in the end."

Tight End Ed Dickson
On Saints decision to go for it on fourth down late in the fourth quarter:
"That's the type of team, that is the type of head coach that they have. They go for it. They go for the gusto and everything like that. That's respect. We had a chance to win it too, we lost.

On his reaction to the intentional grounding call late in the fourth quarter and his view of it:
"I was on the sideline. I thought it was a close call. I'm not going to nitpick at that call. They didn't make the call. We can sit here and turn the film in and everything like that. The game's over and we came up on the short end of it."

Linebacker Luke Kuechly
On his team's defensive performance:
"They just had some big plays today. We got to do a better job communicating. That's something that we try to stress every week is communication. We could have done a better job with that today."

On containing the run game but allowing big pass plays:
"They did a good job of you said getting chunk plays and that's something that when playing a team, especially these guys, you can't give up big plays. Unfortunately for us, they got a few today, but we fought 'til the end of the game. We got a big stop there at the end. That's one of those situations where every play matters in the playoffs. Unfortunately for us, we weren't able to make enough today."

On arguing that Panthers' interception was an incomplete pass late in the game:
"Yeah, I was just trying to give us some field position, but they said they reviewed it and it was a catch. I'm sure that was the right call."

On season as whole:
"Guys fought hard. There was a lot of ups and downs. We had a lot of stuff happen to us this year. Guys played hard. We had a good group of guys led by Coach Rivera. It's a good group of guys. It's a fun place to be. It's a good team to be on. We got great fans. It's fun playing in Charlotte. It's fun being on this team. Like I said, we got a ton of good dudes. We got a lot of guys that are improving every year. I like where this team is at. We just got to make some more plays when we need to."

Defensive End Julius Peppers
On frustration of being so close at the end of the game:
"It's frustrating. We put ourselves in a position to have a shot at winning the game. That's really all you can ask for."

On what will factor in to his decision if he will play again next season:
"I'm not sure right now. I just want to have some time to reflect, think about everything that's going on, spend some time with my kids, and see where my heart takes me."

On what the season meant to him after decision to come back and play in Carolina after starting his career there and being a native of the state:
"It meant a lot. It was a great experience. It was a great decision, in my opinion. It was a great decision to come back on and play this year. I don't have any regrets at all. I am proud of these guys and I had a lot of fun this season."

(Opening remarks) "Disappointment. We had an opportunity. I liked what we were doing down the stretch. I thought that we had a chance to score on that last drive. I feel like it was kind of taken away from us (by the penalty). That's a tough one to handle. I want to give credit to what the Saints did and the way they played. I thought that some of the things that they did was outstanding." (On the intentional grounding penalty against them on their final drive) "Our quarterback was out of the pocket. I thought that there was a receiver in the vicinity. I thought that the ball was past the line of scrimmage." (On if he received an explanation on the intentional grounding penalty from the game officials) "I did not get an explanation. I was trying to get one just so that I could understand why it was called." (On if he thought a receiver was in the area on the intentional grounding penalty) "Oh yeah, without question. (Devin) Funchess was going to the corner and Cam (Newton) was trying to throw the ball in that direction and got hit as he was throwing it. The ball's going to come out wobbly. My understanding is that it went beyond the line of scrimmage and he (Newton) was out of the pocket." (On Cam Newton going through the concussion protocol) "No, he actually got poked in the eye. They took him in there for precautionary just to make sure. When he was sitting on the ground, they were trying to wipe (around his eye) where he got poked. That's what that was. We wanted him to sit down to give (Derek Anderson) a chance to warm up. He (Newton) was injured. He stood up and right as walked off. We wanted him to take a knee so that we could give our (backup quarterback) guy a couple of throws. I do not know what they did in the tent. When I came out onto the field, he (Newton) had said that he got poked in the eye. That's what he said." (On the frustration of losing a close game today) "It's very frustrating. Again, we played against a very good football team that did some really good things. They made plays when they needed to. Unfortunately, we didn't make a play (when we needed it most). We had a chance. That's all that you can really ask for is a chance. I thought that the guys rallied. I am very proud of the effort that they gave. I am very proud of the way that they stepped up and made things happen at the end of the game. We missed our chance. That is a tough pill to swallow." (On Ted Ginn Jr.'s first quarter touchdown catch) "It made a big difference. They got up on us a little bit early. They were able to do some of the things that they wanted to. The disappointing this is we were able to handle the (Saints) rushing game, but we gave up too many plays over the top. That was probably the biggest one, obviously, all day. Teddy still has that speed…..He got a good, clean read. He was their number two (option). It is a play we call 'Dagger'. He runs right through the middle of the defense, trying to pull everybody out. Really, the deep dig's the primary target. If we'd been able to get the safety over a little bit (that would have made a difference. Ted got inside of the safety and split him to the corner."
(On scoring field goals early, but not enough touchdowns) "You go back and look at it, we kicked four, I think it was. You are not going to win football games if you do that, especially against a really good football team like this." (On the interception by Mike Adams rather than him batting it down to get better field position on what would have been a turnover on downs) "He's excited (during the play). He's got a chance to make a play. He's got a chance to make sure that they don't get a first down. It's just one of those things. You wish that he would have dropped it or batted it down, just knowing the situation and circumstances." (On the team not being able to get over the hump after a great regular season) "You say that we have a nemesis. They (the Saints) were certainly our nemesis this year. Again, I don't want to take away anything that they did. I thought that Sean Payton and his coaches did a tremendous job. I thought their players came out and played hard. They got the leg up on us." (On the loss) "This kind of epitomizes the season. Close, we were close. The guys fought and did a lot of good things in spite of all the things that went on, all of the good things and the bad things. Our guys kept fighting and being very resilient. It all started all the way through with OTAs, minicamps, training camp, right on through to the very end. The guys fought. When we got here, I know that a lot of people didn't give us a chance, but we are here. That was probably the biggest thing." (On containing Drew Brees better in the second half of the game) "Some of the things we did (were different). We were a little more physical with the receivers. We tried to take away the quicker throws and underneath throws. When he has time, he's going to find players downfield. Unfortunately, that's what he did. He got a little bit too much time a couple of times and was able to advance the ball downfield. That is really what got us, too. Their chunk yardage was tremendous. They did a great job with that stuff." (On his new contract extension) "I am very appreciative, I really am, with what the organization has done showing a little continuity going forward. I think that's going to be important for us that there's going to be some continuity. I don't know what's going to happen from this point. We will see. I think that it's a good sign for us as an organization and as a football team, having that. We will go from there." (On if he may have to replace a coordinator) "I know that Steve (Wilks) is a hot commodity, deservedly so. He has done a tremendous job wherever he's been, starting in Chicago and San Diego and down here with us. It's going to be a tough one. Him and Sean (McDermott) are two very good people who are very special to this organization. We helped build this team. I don't want to talk as if Steve is gone, but I have a hunch. It might be his time." (On his message to the team) "They did a helluva job. They gave great effort. They should be proud of where we got to, because nobody gave us a chance. I personally felt they epitomized what we're all about as a football team. They showed some tremendous resilience."

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS VS. CAROLINA PANTHERS NFC WILD CARD PLAYOFF SUNDAY, JANUARY 7, 2018 ● MERCEDES-BENZ SUPERDOME PANTHERS PLAYER QUOTES

Quarterback Cam Newton (On hit he took in the 4th quarter that required medical attention) "I know it was precautionary concussion protocol things that happened, but it wasn't my head. It was my eye. My helmet had come down low enough over my eyelid and it got pressed by the player's stomach, I believe. I thought maybe somebody stuck a finger in my eye, but [I have] a visor, so that couldn't happen."
(On the intentional grounding call in the fourth quarter) "It does not matter what I think, but I can tell you this and I kind of heard a couple of answers in the locker room. That game did not come down to that play. We can call it what it is, but we could have played better as a team. So for that situation to take place at hand, it's a slighted call either way you call it. That game didn't come down to just one call that could have went either way."
(On his emotions after game) "Frustrated for obvious reasons. This roster, I'd love to keep it my whole career, but certain things just have to happen. And I hate that I could not do enough to get a win today for a lot of guys that I think so highly of. So, that is my emotions. This game brings men together. You have love bonds for the rest of your life. For me to take my last snaps with a couple players on this team, that's kind of the hardest part about this."
(On Owner Jerry Richardson addressing team for last time today) "I have a really good relationship with Mr. Richardson. As far as a whole team outlook, the fact that our season cut short right now that's kind of hard for us to believe. Especially what transpired over this year. The sacrifices that a lot of people took."
(On if he took pride in team getting to this point with all that happened during season) "I think that's where we go wrong. We didn't come here just to get a shot. We came here to win. And that's what we didn't do. I kind of caught a sense of a lot people just being satisfied with being in the playoffs…I will learn from this and I will get better from it."
(On if he feels there is a lack of offensive weapons) "I just got to be better. I am not going to take the coward way and point somebody else out. I feel like plenty of times this year it was up to me. I do believe I am the leader of this team and the team goes as I go. That comes with a lot of responsibility. But we all are professional athletes, no matter when you get picked, how you get picked, you are on a football team of 53, that people would die for that opportunity. The fact the we [have] talented guys that [are] on this team at the receiver position, at the running back position, at the line position. Offensively, I feel like as a whole it still starts with me."
Tight End Greg Olsen (On early struggles) "We spotted them too many there at the beginning not being able to score in the red zone. Going 0-2 there or 0-3. We got six points. That was the difference in the game." "We just didn't do a good job. We moved the ball pretty much at will the whole game. We just struggled in the first half in the red zone and it turned out to be points that we kept chasing" (On contract extension for Coach Rivera) "I think it's great. A no-brainer. I think he is one of the greatest assets we have as an organization. To see them recognize that and give him what he so rightly deserved, I think is a good sign." Center Ryan Kalil (On early struggles) "I think we put ourselves in a bad position. We did a good job marching down the field and got in the red zone and couldn't convert. What happens is you end up chasing points and against that offense, it's tough."
(On coming up short after almost coming back) "Regardless of the outcome, it's frustrating to lose. The whole season is for this part of the game. I felt like we had a good game plan. We didn't execute. We didn't get it done in the end." Tight End Ed Dickson (On Saints decision to go for it on fourth down late in the fourth quarter) "That's the type of team, that is the type of head coach that they have. They go for it. They go for the guts and everything like that. That's respect. We had a chance to win it too, we lost. (On his reaction to the intentional grounding call late in the fourth quarter and his view of it) "I was on the sideline. I thought it was a close call. I'm not going to nitpick at that call. They didn't make the call. We can sit here and turn the film in and everything like that. The game's over and we came up on the short end of it." Linebacker Luke Kuechly (On his team's defensive performance) "They just had some big plays today. We got to do a better job communicating. That's something that we try to stress every week is communication. We could have done a better job with that today." (On containing the run game but allowing big pass plays) "They did a good job of you said getting chunk plays and that's something that when playing a team, especially these guys, you can't give up big plays. Unfortunately for us, they got a few today, but we fought 'til the end of the game. We got a big stop there at the end. That's one of those situations where every play matters in the playoffs. Unfortunately for us, we weren't able to make enough today." (On arguing that Panthers' interception was an incomplete pass late in the game) "Yeah, I was just trying to give us some field position, but they said they reviewed it and it was a catch. I'm sure that was the right call." (On season as whole) "Guys fought hard. There was a lot of ups and downs. We had a lot of stuff happen to us this year. Guys played hard. We had a good group of guys led by Coach Rivera. It's a good group of guys. It's a fun place to be. It's a good team to be on. We got great fans. It's fun playing in Charlotte. It's fun being on this team. Like I said, we got a ton of good dudes. We got a lot of guys that are improving every year. I like where this team is at. We just got to make some more plays when we need to."

Defensive End Julius Peppers (On frustration of being so close at the end of the game) "It's frustrating. We put ourselves in a position to have a shot at winning the game. That's really all you can ask for." (On what will factor in to his decision if he will play again next season) "I'm not sure right now. I just want to have some time to reflect, think about everything that's going on, spend some time with my kids, and see where my heart takes me." (On what the season meant to him after decision to come back and play in Carolina after starting his career there and being a native of the state) "It meant a lot. It was a great experience. It was a great decision, in my opinion. It was a great decision to come back on and play this year. I don't have any regrets at all. I am proud of these guys and I had a lot of fun this season."

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