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Postgame Quotes: Titans vs. Panthers




(opening statement)

Well I can say this, that's a good football team that we went up against today. I mean there's reasons why they are where they're at with their record, how they finished last year.  I thought for the most part early in the game, we were….in reality, I thought it was going to come down to one of these games, not a high scoring game, a low scoring game because of the nature of both teams. I thought for a while there it looked like that but then they continued to do what they haven't been doing, not make any mistakes. We started it and when we started it, it started an abundance of bad things for us. When you do that and you go against a team that is that efficient, it is not good. It's not going to be pretty at the end just like you saw. It's not pretty.

(on what he attributed mistakes to the offensive struggles in second half)

One thing I thought we did well early and better than we have, even last week we were better on third down. And then all of a sudden, Anthony (Fasano) drops a flat route over there that gets a drive started and then we drop a third down snap. Yeah, those are things I don't care really who you are playing, but you are playing this team, they are not going to end up in good results.

(on how to credit Carolina for causing the team to wear down)

No, I give them credit for that. It's not a real…they are just efficient. It's not going to be 500 yards of offense and 40 points. It's going to possess the football, wear you down eventually and again a lot of teams think they are going to make this team drive the length of the field and you are going to make a mistake, they do not. They have not. It's not on tape. It wasn't in person today to see it. As I said Mike Shula does a good job with that offensive scheme, but that is kind of what we would like to evolve into. We have to go to learn from these things and again, the good news is that we have done that. We have done it in a game already and won the game. We did it in a half and it was a tight game, a game that was going to come down to a possession. And then we again have proof, as we have had earlier in the year, when you do some things, you know that are going to affect your team negatively, it's harder to win.

(on Justin Hunter's injury)

It's not good. I don't know the exact specifics, but it's not good.

(on if Marcus Mariota was trying to throw ball away on the interception)

No, he was throwing it to DGB (Dorial Green-Beckham) and DGB should have been running out a route full speed and was not and the DB was and again, the difference between winning and losing.

(on adjustments made to limit plays to tight end Greg Olsen)

Well, they were attacking us a specific way. I thought we cleaned that up, but not until after they had already put a couple of scores on the board. Greg (Olsen), obviously he's an impact player for their team, but the quarterback trusts him to be where he is supposed to be and again you watch some of the things, some of the catches he made over there on the sideline, those are catches that continue to just keep drives going, but I thought we settled down in the second half, it could have got bad. I thought are defense did a really good job, but eventually they are going to wear down. When we are off the field on offense in a couple of three-and-outs, there, and they come back and try to pound the ball, eventually the dam is going to break.

(on if he was advised by the booth to call the challenge)

There was enough there to throw it. We thought there were three things there: did he actually catch the ball, if not, they would move the ball back and it would be fourth down. If he did catch it, was it a fumble? Was his elbow down before the ball came out? Third thing, which was unfortunately the end result, was that it was not a fumble. So I made the choice at that point, if we can steal one, let's steal one.

(on adding pressure to Cam Newton in second half)

What was happening in the first half, we were not covering very well. I feel like when I walked off the field at halftime, other than the screen that he threw in the dirt, I could not remember an incompletion. So the decision to pressure was made, pressure more, and also we addressed the coverage, to make it tighter and cleaner than it was. It did; it got better. That's why we had the results of more sacks than we did in the first half. The coverage actually got better, knowing there were going to be a lot of one on ones.

(on how to address Dexter McCluster holding onto the ball)

It is addressed every single day. It's practiced, we start practice with it, the gauntlet drill. It is talked about Saturday night, it's talked about before the game, and it's talked about on the sideline. It is something, they've got to do it. They've just got to do it, and it's been addressed.

(on the short turnaround to the next game)

It is a challenge physically, obviously. Always has been, to have to turn around and play. We are going to bring them in tomorrow, later tomorrow, and just walk through. We are going to be very smart about how we do things this week as far as having them ready to go, but they also have to take some responsibility and that started last week. You know, trying to get them on and off the field, trying to make them understand that we have two games here, at that point it was next week, so what you do from last Thursday on will affect this game and that Thursday game.

(on the defense's performance at the goal line)

That's going to help us win, we cannot have a let down there.

*(on if Marcus Mariota was hit in the head)                                                 *

To my view, yes.

(on why those hits have not been called)

That's something Dean Blandino can answer. We had one last week and another one this week. Again, when you slow the film down, talk through it, maybe you'll see that. I was standing right at the point of contact. I think you err on the side of don't do that, throw a flag, that is not what you want.

(on Perrish Cox and Blidi Wreh-Wilson's injuries)

Perrish Cox was not close enough and Blidi Wreh-Wilson was, again, in better condition we thought, to complete the game, better than Perrish Cox. I'm not sure Perrish Cox would have lasted as long as Blidi Wreh-Wilson did.

(on if the Thursday game will be good to lose the taste of this game)

Well that's kind of what I said in the locker room. That's something we've got to get over with fairly quickly, obviously because of the game Thursday night. Obviously we've had two different locker rooms after games in the two weeks I've been in this position and I know the one I'd rather be in again. So we've got to get over the taste and the feeling quickly to get prepared to play a team that is improved. I'm not sure if they won or lost today, but they're playing good football.

(on Cam Newton's celebration)

All I saw was the tail end of it. He did it all game, which, I guess that's acceptable. It's not taunting, but in my mind, it is.

*(on any new injuries)                                                                   *

Al Woods' knee, they're doing x-rays on it now. He walked off, as you saw, and that was really it.



(on the team's struggles in the second half)

We just didn't do a good job of executing on third down and that starts with me.  I've got to do a better job of helping those guys out in terms of protection and getting the ball out and allowing the guys to make plays.

(on what happened with the interception)

I was trying to anticipate the throw a little bit.  They came out of a coverage that I expected them to play, and tried to give DGB (Dorial Green-Beckham) a chance.  The guy made a good play. 

(on how much credit he gives to the Panthers on what they were able to do today)

We knew coming in this would be a tough battle.  For us, I think we left a lot of points out there.  We didn't get drives going.  Our defense played well enough for us to win.  It's one of those days we didn't execute.

(on if today's loss hurt the momentum from last week)

You know, it's tough but it's one game.  We've got a short week, so we've got to dust those things off and get ready for Thursday. 

(on things veterans have told him about playing on a short week and getting physically ready)

You said it best.  You've got to get your body prepared.  Just take it as a normal work week.  Try your best to learn and get ready from a mental standpoint but I think physically, you've got make sure your body is ready to go.

(on if he thought the officials would throw the flag on the play when he was hit as he slid)

No, I mean, it's the refs decision.  I just got up and tried keep moving the ball.

(on if he talked to Justin Hunter after the game)

A little bit.  It's tough to see anybody go down, especially like that.  It's tough.  Prayers out to him and I hope he gets well soon.

(on if the team need a big play during the game because they played with their backs to the ball so much)

Unfortunately, we weren't able to chunk the ball downfield a little bit.  It's tough when you're playing behind field position. It puts your defense in bad spots.  We have to do a better job with that and find ways to get the ball downfield

(on what he learned from Cam Newton today)

It's one of those deals where you've got to learn from everybody you play with.  Last week, it was Drew Brees, this week was Cam (Newton).  He did a good job just keeping his team moving down the field, building rhythm throughout his drives and I can do a better job of that, for sure.



(On today's performance)

Defense did a good job; we stuck with them for three quarters, and just let it slip away. It shows that Carolina is a good fundamental team and they made little mistakes.

(On the problems establishing the run)

Early on Carolina was loading the box up trying to stop us from getting the run game going.  But we stuck with it and it was a tough, hard-nose battle all game.

(On the tough time on third down)

Three-and-outs hurt, but we just have to be consistent and make plays when we have to make plays.


(On the Interception)

He made a good play on it, nothing I can really do about it except move past it and focus on next week.

(On today's performance)

We let it slip away, this week we have a couple of days, then we are in Jacksonville. We just have to let this go and move forward.



(On the lack of wins at home)

It's been over a year since we won at home and we need to do that. It's what this town deserves, it's what these people deserve, and it's what this team deserves based on how hard we work. We just have to keep going.

*(On momentum) *

It's still there, we are disappointed but it's a short week, I can't focus on this game anymore after this interview. We have a big game ahead of us on Thursday night.

(On the status of the division)

There's a lot to play for and we just have to keep moving forward. We don't talk about it, but it's a real short week. I'm ready to go, I'm banged up but I'm fired up.

(The hit on Mariota)

I'm always going to stand up for Marcus; I don't even know who hit him. I saw the play while I was blocking my guy. You just protect your quarterback as much as possible.


(on Cam Newton's passing to start the game)

It's one of those things he has been working on, his fundamental and his technique, and I've seen those things happen and seen those come to fruition. He did a nice job today. Cam (Newton) did a nice job with those things. They handle a lot of things thrown at us, so give them credit. They came after us and they played some very aggressive football. I thought some things they did against our offense, you have to take your hat off to. We made some adjustments later on in the middle of the 3rd quarter. I thought what Mike (Shula) and the offensive coaches tried to do really paid off. Give them credit. They fought and scratched against us. Coach (Mike) Mularkey did a nice job getting them ready to play.

(on how tough it is to win)

It's tough. I mean, these guys are professionals. They are not going to come out and roll over and let us squirrel through anybody. They are going to make us earn it.   Heck, you may lose a football game. You come up against a team that made the change last week, they win a football game, they come out they are aggressive, physical, you have got to give them credit. Again, for us to be able to keep our composure, keep our poise, and handle the efforts made by the coaches.  I thought Sean (Wilks) and Mike (Shula) did a nice job.  I thought special teams did a nice job. A little unfortunate that we got the penalty called.  We were aggressive and we made things happen. You've got to give our guys credit as well.

(on the defense only giving up 10 points)

I think the adjustments they made coming out for the second half was very good. They moved the ball on us a couple of times and fortunately, we only gave up 10 points. But they have a good, young quarterback that is growing, they have some playmakers around him and they do a nice job trying to protect him. As they develop and grow, I think they are a good football team. I think, as I said, a lot of what they do is really good and we just got to be on our game and not expect to just show up.

(on adjustments)

There were several things. They used their tight ends early, they hit us a couple times in the seams. Delanie Walker made some big plays to keep the momentum for them.  Their running back (Dexter) McCluster did a nice job with his speed, his quickness to the outside showed. We had to make a couple adjustments to keep them inside, to contain, and keep the quarterback inside. He got after us a couple of times as he took the ball and ran.   It was a good football team we played today. Credit to them.

(on running the ball)

They were trying to make plays. They were trying to stop us and ran some pressures and we were able to call the right plays against those pressures. If we don't get them blocked, those are negative plays and they may get the ball back with a chance to win the game. We were fortunate enough to back them up.

(on finishing this game after the performances at the end of the last couple of games)

It was good. It really was. Again, you can't give teams opportunities to come back. Every chance to make a play, you have to. We were able to tackle them, keep them inbounds, keep the clock going and then being able to finish it off with the fumble – that was awesome.

(on rapport between QB Cam Newton and TE Greg Olsen)

It's interesting because the two of them work together. They're very similar in terms of their personality when it comes to working. They both work very hard, they're both committed, there's a lot of good about who they both are in terms of trying and wanting to win and do well. It's just good to see them, with their chemistry out there on the football field, and again, when you have a guy that you feel comfortable with, that you can always go to, that's a big play.

* (on Cam Newton's celebration after the final touchdown)*

Well, I know that he wants to give the ball to a young fan. So I just think that's part of it. I know the hard thing about it is he should be a little more mindful that this is somebody else's stadium and try to be respectful and do it in the right manner. He does. He tries to find a young fan and give it to the fan. I get it, and again, as long as we're not getting out of control, I think we'll be OK.

(on handling being 9-0)

Well, we take it one game at a time, but it's the elephant in the room. We can't deny that, but again, it's really about the next game. It really, honestly is. All the record tells you is that you're in position for the next thing, and that would be the play-offs. So hopefully we can continue to play well and give ourselves an opportunity to get there. We've got another game coming up and that'll be the focus. The players will get to enjoy the next couple of days. They'll get an opportunity to talk to the media and talk about the game and really, I know you all remind them that they are 9-0, but the truth of the matter is once we get started on Wednesday, the focus goes right back to who we play next.

* (on whether K Graham Gano's shorter and higher kicks were by design)*

Personally, I'd love to just see him kick it out through the end zone, but a lot of it had to do with the conditions. He knew he wasn't going to be able to get it there, so one thing he really worked on was trying to get some air under the ball.

(on taking a moment to enjoy 9-0)

I will most certainly. I'll get home tonight and we'll have an opportunity to celebrate a little bit, but the focus goes right back to Monday as we start getting prepared for the next one. That's the way it has to be. It's a long season, but it's a quick season because next thing you know we're on to our next team.

(on whether there was a theme on the five sacks)

Well, the biggest thing was that they blitzed from everywhere, and you've got to give them credit. They really did some nice things in terms of getting after us. They brought a lot of people, and again, we'll have to take a look at that on tape. 

(on Cam Newton's completion percentage)

I'm not sure what his completion percentage was. It was 81 percent? Well, again, he continues to work with the receivers. It's all the extra work that they're putting in as a group, as a unit, as individuals. When you watch them in practice and something happens, as soon as we go to the defensive side, him and whoever he had trouble with, they'll go to the other field and they'll run that route until they get it right. So, I just think that they're putting in a lot of extra work to give themselves a chance to get better.

(on WR Ted Ginn Jr.'s performance)

There's always that potential there and one of the things that happens when you have a guy who could potentially go all the way, I think it boosts everybody a little bit more. I think the attitude and the willingness to do it…because part of playing special teams is having the want to. When you have a guy you know who could potentially do it, it's kind of neat to watch the guys go out there and try to make something happen.

(on talking to QB Cam Newton about not crossing the line)

The thing about him is that he understands. He went to a few of our fans were and gave it to a young person. It's just part of the celebration and we just have to be mindful and do it in a respectful manner.


(on what it feels like to start the game with stakes high)

I was just happy to get a win. I don't necessarily focus on things like that. We knew coming into a game like this, where we've had game after game after game where the stakes were high, and they're going to get higher each and every week. We knew as an offense to start fast, defense did a great job getting us the ball early, and we just wanted to capitalize on getting an early momentum. We did that, forced two drives, and just found a way not to fizzle out in the middle part of the game and just get points. Games like this, it's not going to be pretty all aspects of the game, but it can go either way with a lot of plays, and we just hope that the odds favor us.

(on what he did differently today to improve his completion percentage)

Clear weather. Last couple games playing in tsunamis and things like that, but we had a beautiful day in Nashville today. But you just have to make the most of it.

(on whether connecting with Greg Olsen helped get him going)

He was teasing.  He was wide open a couple of plays, made a tease on the sideline, and he said 'I don't think they put me in the game plan.' I said, 'OK buddy, I'm going to keep getting you the ball, or whoever the ball if the play allows me.' He also had an unbelievable one-handed catch, and he does that in practice. Coach (Ron Rivera) always talks about letting practice carry over to the game and making practice game-like, and things like that make you a believer of it. You see Greg (Olsen), one of the first of a few players that's out there, and late, working on catching. He's a veteran that's been in this a long time and having great habits like that carry over, and you see why.

(on how he's been able to avoid a letdown with a 9-0 start)

Just stay focused. Coach [Ken] Dorsey spoke to the team last night and one thing he mentioned was don't be the team that blinks. For us, it meant don't be the team that scratches your head and wondering why, or when somebody else is going to make the play. We knew it wasn't going to be pretty; we tried to make it as pretty as possible. The first couple of drives, going down there and scoring touchdowns and field goals, we knew we just had to keep fighting.

(on how he was able to take down Titans DT Jurrell Casey)

I don't know if I can say anything good about it; you know I just respect his career. I didn't mean to grab his facemask. It was just the heat of the moment and trying to cut loose, but it wasn't a good play being that I got a penalty, a personal foul.

(on the reaction after he gave the football to a young fan following his touchdown)

I heard somebody say we aren't going to allow you to do that, but if you don't want me to do it, then don't let me in.  I just like doing it. It's not to be boastful. From the crowd's response, they like seeing it. I'm not doing it because I got sacked. I'm not doing it because something bad has happened to the Panthers. I'm just doing it because good things have happened and I hope to keep doing it. No disrespect to anybody. It's just a Panthers thing.

(on if his celebrations are an example of how he loves the game)

Absolutely. We put a premium on scoring touchdowns and performing in away games. We get so much response from fans in away games like this. Seeing the response with the roaring riot, seeing black, Carolina blue and Carolina white jerseys in the stadium and keep pounding throughout the game chants, it makes me happy as a player. Nobody wants to be on a team that don't nobody like and we didn't want to let those guys down. Anytime we score, we label it our own Sunday giveaway. We make it a priority for a person who is celebrating to give them an opportunity to share something that we have. Giving a football to a fan just makes Sunday football any better.

(on whether his celebration was excessive)

It's just fun. It's really an Atlanta-based dance and a tease. I'm a kid a heart. My youngest brother played a big win this past week, first playoff game, and he always tease me, 'Hey brother, you gotta' do something cool.' He told me, 'Dab on those folks,' and in that tone too. He's only 16, but he's got an Adam's apple.  I try to make my game kid-like so people will see that I'm enjoying what I do. The birth of my lungs, while I have the ability to do what I do, I'm going to try to make the most of each and every opportunity. Like I said, I can't repeat it enough, I'm not doing it to be disrespectful to nobody, more so just doing it just to shine light and get people a smile and having fun doing what I do.


(on the continuity of the defensive unit and the team as whole)

I will honestly say that everyone genuinely gets along in the locker room and everybody is obviously trying to be the best player that they can be. It is great to have individual success, but everybody does it for the betterment of the guy next to them and the betterment of that group. We want to be the best defensive line there is. We are highly competitive amongst each other, but we are not going to go out of our scheme to get it done.

(on the team finding a way to win)

A win is a win is a win. You win by one, you win by 30 – it is still a win. It shows resilience and that we are not going to blink in the face of adversity. We are going to go out there and make a play. Every week it seems to be somebody different. We have some really great players on this team and everybody seems to step up when their number is called.

(on putting the game away late)

It is definitely momentum-building. The first half wasn't what we wanted it to be. To be able to come in at halftime and make the corrections and go out and finish the game off was big for us. We have had the capability to do it, we just have to get it done. We have to take that next step as a defense, the next step as a team. We have to be able to finish games off when we have a lead and we were able to do that today.


(on his one-handed catch in the second half)

It was just a reaction to the situation. You don't ever intend on going out there and trying to catch it with one hand. Sometimes you just have to react to the situation and try to make the catch any way you have to.

(on the chemistry with Cam Newton)

Obviously, we have completed a lot of passes over the years. We have a pretty good feel for what each other is looking for and we see things through the same set of eyes a lot of times.

(on passes being on target)

Today made catching balls pretty easy. For the most part, everything was at your hands. Even if you had to go down and get it, it was super catchable and super easy and friendly balls. That makes playing the receiving position easy.

(on if he was given a hard time after being stopped short of the end zone)

Yeah, I said before that if the goal line was at the one, I would probably be leading the NFL in touchdowns. It doesn't start at the one, unfortunately. I was glad that the next play Ed [Dickson] got his first touchdown of the year. I was happy for that. I don't really get too wrapped up in stats.

(on the crowd's reaction to Cam Newton's post-touchdown celebrations)

I thought a lot of the crowd was our crowd. At times it was pretty loud when we were on defense, and it was loud when we had good plays. I don't know. I guess you would have to ask him. It seemed like a pretty standard demeanor from Cam (Newton) as far as I can tell.


(on the win)

I think we did a really nice job of making some adjustments. The last few weeks, we haven't finished the game like we were supposed to. We just wanted to go out and make sure we finished this game and didn't allow teams to score in the fourth quarter.  

(on the mood at halftime)

We just knew that what they had done to that point in the game was because of what we did. It wasn't anything that they went out and did that we didn't expect them to do. We just didn't do a good job of executing in the first half. We made some adjustments at halftime and we went out and did a much better job of executing.

(on 9-0)

It is a great feeling. We are not done yet. We still have work to do. We will watch this film, we will build off of it, we will continue to get better and we will move on to Washington next week.


(on the Titans defense making the game more physical)

Those guys are really good on defense and they made it that type of game. We were able to take advantage of the opportunities that we had, and we finished the game out the way we wanted to.

(on the Panthers offense starting fast)

Well, I think it's very important to start the game out fast on offense. It is even more important to start the game out fast on the road and we did that today. We created a little separation and our defense played lights out again and gave us more and more opportunities. Today, we finally got to where we wanted to be at the end of the game and that's a sign of progress.

(on the Panthers offense finishing the game strong)

When you get the ball back like that, you want to close the game out and I think we did that. It was very important to convert on third downs and take care of every little detail on each and every play. I think we did a great job of that and it'll be good to go back and see that part of the film


(on the Panthers mindset entering today's game)

Everybody was locked in. We knew what this game meant. We knew this could have been a trap game for us. They wanted it to be a trap game. The refs put us in a dogfight a couple of times, you know. We just kept fighting and got up out of it.

(on Panthers QB Cam Newton completing his first 11 passes)

NFL. Be a pro. That's what we do, quietly. That's all I can really say.

(on finishing the game strong)

That's something Coach (Ron) Rivera always says to us, finish the game strong. We knew that it was going to be a hammer situation. We knew that the defense was trying to get off the field at the end of the game and we were prepared for it.

(on how his punt return TD that was called back due to penalty sparked his play)

I know what that meant to my team. It was trying to get back to making a play. Just trying to do whatever I can. I'm just playing football, man. I love being here with the Panthers, man, and we're just enjoying our 9-0 victory.


(on the play of the Panthers defense)

Our defense is great. Those guys fly around and are hitting people hard. You look at everyone who gets tackled and there are four, five, six, seven guys; you never know. Everyone's swarming around the ball and they came up with some big plays and helped us out a ton. Those guys did a great job and it was a real team effort. Special teams did a great job; it was awesome.

(on beginning the game with consecutive touchdown drives)

That's exactly what we want to do is go out and score touchdowns and set the tone and set the tempo. That's exactly what we did. We kind of got away from that after those first two drives, but we got back into it in the second half. Next week, we're just going to work on continuing those great drives throughout the whole game.

(on the support of the Panthers fans at Nissan Stadium)

Oh, it was awesome. I absolutely love it. I love seeing all the Panthers fans out there chanting for us. It means the world. I love seeing our fans out there. It felt almost like a home game.


(on the Panthers offense finishing the game strong)

We had a list of things that we wanted to get better with this week, and hammer was one of them. I think we did a good job of coming out in hammer time, putting our nose in the dirt and just grinding and trying to get positive yards.

(on helping Panthers RB Jonathan Stewart gain 91 yards today)

My role has changed a little bit this year, but I embrace it. I'm doing the best to try to get Jonathan as many yards and as many touchdowns as possible throughout the end of the year. He's doing a good job of it and hopefully I'm doing a good job, too.

(on the challenge posed by the Titans today)

The Tennessee Titans are a good football team. They're very physical. They play good defense. Their record doesn't indicate how good they really are. We knew we had a challenge ahead of us. We came in the locker room at halftime, made some adjustments, and obviously they worked. We're not satisfied by any means, but at the same time, we know we can definitely play a lot better than we did today.

(on the Panthers 9-0 record)

It embraces everything we believe in. Our motto is 'keep pounding' and that's what we do. We embrace it, regardless of the situation. Whether it be a turnover or third down percentages on offense or defense or a punt return called back. Whatever happens, we're going to keep pounding and try to find a way to move ahead.


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