Head Coach Sean McDermott
Q: Anything on E.J. Gaines?
A: Yeah, he’ll be out there today. He’ll be a little bit limited but he’ll be out there and should be a go for practice.
Q: Do you expect him to play?
A: We do. At this point, we do.
Q: So how dangerous is it going to be going against Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis and guys that you’re very familiar with? They’re very good and they did a great job last week against San Francisco. What challenges do you guys face?
A: Yeah, huge challenge. This is a very talented football team, a team that’s been together for a long time, seven years now for the most part. The defense, in particular, they’ve added some, they’ve retained some players, I should say first off, and then they added some players with [Julius] Peppers and Captain Munnerlyn. Very talented football team, very talented defense, they do a great job schematically and [they’re] extremely fast so we’ll have our hands full.
Q: What’s your advantage because you know them?
A: I’m aware of strengths and weaknesses, if you will. That’s the part that is there. I acknowledge that. The players will be on the field making the plays. We’ve got to have a great week and we’ve got a lot of work to do, like I said, coming off of last week’s game and really, for us, it’s about us growing as a football team and then making the trip down there. That’ll be a big challenge for us.
Q: To what extent can you and Ron [Rivera], for that matter, adjust what you do because of what you know about each other?
A: To what extent, you know, that’s interesting. Again, it’s where they are in terms of they’re seven years in [and] we’re two weeks in. There’s difference in the life cycle, if you will. They’ve been around each other for a long time there in terms of the continuity and what comes with that. We’re really in the infant stages, if you will, of that life cycle and we’ve got a long way to go. We’re going to try every week to put our players in a position to be successful and that’s our job as coaches. I feel good about a lot of things last week. I really do. Again, it’s really ‘how do we continue to evolve as a football team, to establish who we are as a football team?’ Our identity, our fundamentals, and then just closing the gap in areas where we need to close the gap from last week.
Q: When you were down there in Carolina, how often was Cam [Newton] playing and practicing against your defense compared to what the scout team defense might’ve been?
A: Well, that’s everyday. Every day through the natural evolution of what happens in the OTA’s, what happens in the spring, and training camp and then obviously you transition, just like we do and most teams do, to scout team work. He was working against the look team that week during the regular season. He’s familiar with what we do. We’ve got some familiarity with what they do. They do an incredible job, Mike Shula does an incredible job of moving pieces around and just, [it’s a] very dynamic offense. Their coaches do a great job. Coach [John] Matsko up front with the offensive line, and just very talented across the board skill set-wise too. You got [Greg] Olsen, you got [Christian] McCaffrey, you got Jonathan Stewart, Kelvin Benjamin, Devin Funchess and the list goes on. How do you stop them? That’s a challenge.
Q: I know you’re familiar with how hot it is down there and it’s going to be 86° on Sunday. You know how that can get, so how do you prepare for that throughout the week? Also, was the defensive line rotation in last week’s game, maybe having that in mind for a hot game?
A: Right. Our system is our system in terms of rotating players. We want fresh players. Separate of the weather, we’re always going to do that. That’s just philosophically what we believe in. Also, with that goes the saying of ‘everyone adds value.’ We need everyone to win and that’s important. Separate of that, with respect to the weather, that’s a part of the country where it’s warm and we’ve got to be prepared for that and we got a head start on that Monday with our hydration process.
Q: Offensively, last week the plan was to attack that short passing game and you established that. Moving forward, against a team like this team that’s very good up front, do you have to have your dynamic and intermediate passing game to continue to allow LeSean McCoy to do what he’s able to do? Is that going to be something that you have to address? Because there was nothing really down the field last week. Just, how important is that?
A: Well, it’s important from the standpoint of just us evolving as an offense. That we take what the defense gives us. If the throws aren’t there down the field, then we take what the defense gives us. If the throws are there down the field then we’ll take those throws. We took a couple of them last week and a couple of them worked out. There’s also value in run-after-catch, also. There’s a lot of different ways to win football games. I thought we did some good things last week on the offensive side of the ball. I thought we got into a rhythm. To your point, we have to improve. That’s an area that we need to improve on and just like a lot of different areas all across the team. At the end of the day, we have to play smart and that means, on the offensive side, it means being smart with the football and taking what the defense gives us and I thought we did a good job of that.
Q: Going back to your defensive line rotation, and I know that is your philosophy when it comes to defensive tackles, can you appreciate the scrutiny that’s being placed on questions about Marcell Dareus playing on only 50-something percent of the plays, given what his value to this team is as far as the salary goes?
A: When it comes to what it takes to win a football game, I don’t think about those things. I think about what’s going to give us the best chance to win a football game. That’s keeping players fresh up front. That’s just philosophically, again, what we believe in. We don’t factor those other areas into it. I know some of this may be what people are used to seeing. We’re focused on what we do and how we win and getting better every week. Whatever is in that bucket of that, that’s what we’re focused on.
Q: So when it comes to your philosophy and meshing your philosophy with building your team, is a defensive tackle valued that high when it comes to building a salary structure as opposed to other positions?
A: Well, it’s all about getting the best eleven on the field and putting players in a position to be successful. There’s value in every position. You need eleven guys and eleven guys being unselfish doing their job, as I said the other day. Being 1/11th of the defense, doing your job, and with respect to Marcell, I thought Marcell did a heck of a job of that the other day.
Q: And not to belabor the subject, but I understand the 1/11th part, but when it comes to salaries, a quarterback is going to get the bulk of the salaries because he’s important to that side of the ball. When it comes to the defensive side of the ball, do you value other positions more in that sense given the difference between, say, a quarterback and a tight end?
A: Well, on the defensive side of the ball, there’s definitely value in defensive linemen because of the ability to affect the quarterback. You flip it the other way, quarterback on the offense, valuing the quarterback. Defensively, who can affect the quarterback? Defensive linemen do that, so there’s value in that position, sure.
Q: Speaking of affecting the quarterback, knowing what you know of Cam Newton, what are those challenges to deal with size, power, big arm, everything that he has? He’s really a tremendous package when he’s on and you know that well. If you could break down as much of that as you can and how you see your team’s ability to handle it?
A: Well, he was an MVP of the league for a reason a couple years ago and I had a front row seat to watch him on a day-to-day basis and watch his strengths. You mentioned a few of them with respect to the size, the speed, the power, the arm strength. That’s what we’re up against, and then you add the other weapons that they have, that’ll be a huge challenge for us. We’ve got a lot of work to do this week.
Q: For your linemen, to handle it, besides keeping them fresh, does it require because of his ability to stand in there and will take a lot of punishment too, how do you approach that differently than you would with a Josh McCown or any other quarterback?
A: Each quarterback brings a little bit different skill set to the table. Cam has some uniqueness to his skill set and he has the ability to pull the ball down and run so we have to be mindful of that. Again, the arm strength, we’ve got to be mindful of that. He can extend plays. There’s just some different things that Cam brings to the table that maybe other quarterbacks don’t, in this particular case, as I mentioned a few of them. That’s all part of our awareness of and respecting the opponent, and Cam in this case.
Q: Ron Rivera said that Cam [Newton] looked a little rusty in week one coming out with the rotator cuff. When you dug into the film, did he look like himself to you?
A: I thought he did. I thought he did, I mean they put up 23 points and anytime you can do that in the NFL, that’s saying something. I thought they were productive offensively. They moved the ball and spread the ball around and I thought he looked like he did a good job.
Q: Going into week one the game plan was, whatever it takes, LeSean McCoy’s workload was going to be whatever it takes to win the game. Is that pretty much the same thing going into week two?
A: Right, game plan for week two [laughs]. Yeah, I’m not avoiding the question. Like I said a week ago, it’s whatever we’ve got to do to win the game. At the end of the day, that’s the important part of it here.
Q: What is Jelani Jenkins’ role going to be and can he get up to speed in time to be active on Sunday?
A: Well, we’re going to look at that. I mean, Jelani’s played in this league, both defensively and special teams. He’s played outside mostly so that’s where we’ll start him off. The important part now is just acclimating him to our system and what we do and getting him comfortable so he can play fast.
Q: What was his particular skillset that made you want to work with him?
A: Well, just the athleticism overall. [He] came from a good system years ago at the University of Florida and some of the athletic attributes we look for in our linebackers. He can run, he can diagnose, [and he’s a] very instinctive player, so those are some of the things we saw on tape.
Q: What’s the status of Marcell Dareus’s hip injury, and is that something you guys are cognizant of limiting him in practice, the game, whatever?
A: Much like all the players, we’re aware of it, and we have a plan of how we want to handle it this week, just like we had a plan last week, and no different with the other players that have [injuries]. We’re aware of some their issues and things, so we just want to make sure we’ve got a plan as to how to handle it week to week.
Q: Did that influence his time on the field on Sunday at all?
A: Not at all.
Q: How do you maintain your relationship with Ron Rivera since taking this job?
A: Ron’s been a big help to me, he really has. He’s always been there in the process leading up to the different interviews that I did have and since taking the job, he’s always been available, offering help, a great resource for me to ask questions to. I would say the same with respect to his entire family; his wife does a phenomenal job and I know my wife has reached out to Stephanie [Rivera] and she’s helped my wife a lot, just adjusting to things. Ron’s been incredible.
Q: How often do you talk to him and communicate?
A: More texts, you know just because of the nature of the season [with] how quickly things move with training camp and now the season, and so he reached out and sent me a text before the game. I sent him a text shortly after our game before his game on the west coast. We dialogue back and forth, but right now, this time of the year, it’s more via text.
Q: How did Cordy Glenn’s ankle come out after the first enhanced workload that he’s had really in a long time?
A: I thought we took a step forward at this point. It seems like we’ve taken a step forward. I thought Cordy did some good things in the game. He obviously didn’t play the entire game, but his rep count certainly increased from the week before. We want to keep trending upward with respect to Cordy and that position.
Q: Joe Webb warmed up with wide receivers last week. Is that a week to week thing? Is it just, you know, how will that go? Is he primarily a quarterback?
A: It’s like a video game, one of those shapeshifter guys. He’s a quarterback, he’s a wide receiver, it’s like whatever you need, that’s what he does. He’s a DB. He does a really good job.
Q: Then why was he available?
A: [Laughs] I don’t know. That’s a question for Carolina at this point.
Q: As the week goes on, is it tougher for you to deal with any kind of emotion about going back to Carolina and do you expect there to be a wave of it when you step out on the field?
A: It’ll probably be a little different. [It’s] just so soon in our process here; maybe differently in week two versus week 12 back in that stadium and just seeing the people that I just left not too long ago. That’ll be, just from the human side of it, that’ll be a little bit different. I’m focused. Our team is focused. We had a great meeting, a [great] set of meetings this morning and really our focus right now is just really on getting ourselves to continue to grow, and that’ll be important for us this week.
Running Back LeSean McCoy
Q: You had quite a few touches on Sunday, not a surprise to you obviously, but how did you feel you came through the game? Obviously, first game of the season-
A: I felt good. Some things we did well on offense, some things we could’ve done better. Overall, I think we were sound, we were solid. Played good, I felt good.
Q: Were you in one of these games where the coach is going back to see a team where you’ve been at before, it seems like every week this happens in the NFL, but you’re kind of removed from the situation a little bit, it’s not your coach, it’s not your team. Do the players still get into it a little bit, and maybe there’s a little extra for Coach McDermott going back to Carolina?
A: Well the guys that I guess have been in Carolina, just talking to them, and talking to Sean about it, they’re a lot different, it’s like a regular game to them. They’re just going back and trying to win. They’re not getting wrapped up in the rivalry or the battle, they just want to go out there and win. We’re their teammates, we’re supporting them, it’s a regular game. Everybody looks at things differently, and I kind of looked at it like a revenge-type of game when I played back home, but these guys, their attitude is more positive, it’s more team based, so it’s working out. We’ve got one goal, and that’s to go to North Carolina and get a win.
Q: With the speed they have at linebacker, LeSean, sometimes over-pursuit is something a team can fall victim to when they have that. Looking on film, do they fall victim to that sometimes or are they too disciplined for that?
A: They’re a disciplined group, they play very well together. As a team, as a defense, they all know their role. [They’ve] got some studs on that defense, particularly their linebackers, they do a great job of just filling the holes, running things down, a lot of athletic abilities. They’re a good team, they’re a good defense, so in times they are victim of over-pursuing plays, but that’s a gift and a curse. They’re talented at the positon, especially at linebacking, they get happy and they kind of over-pursued, so it’ll be a game. It’ll be a good game.
Q: How excited are you to get a shot at [Luke] Kuechly?
A: I’ve played him before. He’s had some success against me, and I’ve had some success against them. I think my last time in Philly I really keyed on him, I think it was [Zack] Sanchez, had a pretty good game. If they want to take me out or [have me sit] one game out, I’m sure Tyrod [Taylor] would have a big day. As long as we get the win. I’m always up for a challenge, no matter who it is. I look forward to these matchups. I really do.
Q: LeSean, on Sunday you came out with that wrist injury, went back, said you were going to ice it, how’s it feel now? Everything good?
A: It’s pretty good, just keeping the swelling down. It’s football, you get hits and bruises all the time, so I’ll be fine for the game.
Q: Was it your right wrist or left?
A: Right. Yeah, you won’t see too much one handed ball, a little more tuck.
Q: Mike Tolbert came here, he had a reputation as being a good teammate, solid guy in the locker-room. What have you learned about him personally, and what has he brought to this team just in terms of kind of being that number two running-back behind you right now?
A: Off the field, I mean, he’s a good guy, he’s a good teammate. He works extremely hard, he’s caring, he’s always trying to help out the younger guys. He gives me advice. As a veteran in the game, he knows a lot. On the field, he runs hard, he brings that physical type of presence that we need. From fullback to running back, you know, he’ll do whatever it takes to win games and help the team out. In my book, he’s an A+ character guy, A+ teammate.
Q: You’re already near the top of the league after one week, is there any guy you look at every week, kind of see where they are, not even for competitive purposes, just maybe friends or guys because you know how good they are and kind of want to check on them statically?
A: Some of my good friends - I was joking with [Jeremy] Maclin this week, he ran 20.1 miles per hour and I was like 19, I just thought that I would beat him in a foot race. But other guys I mean, it’s so different. When I was trying to compete with other running backs, it was like [Adrian Peterson], Marshawn [Lynch], it was [Arian] Foster, it’s changed. It’s like a lot of the newer guys get a lot of the hype, you know like the last two years it was the kid from the Rams [Todd Gurley], Zeke [Elliott], he’s like the new presence, you know he’s getting it done. Who else, the kid from Miami [Jay Ajayi], he’s kind of getting there, so it’s funny like you watch the stats of the running backs and I’m up there with all the young rookies and young guys, so it’s just different. I like it, it’s interesting, see how the era has kind of changed. You know each week it’s like, what did [Adrian Peterson] get, you know now it’s like is Zeke playing, is he getting six games, is he not? You know, look at the numbers, so it’s pretty cool.
Q: Is it extra motivation for you that they’re younger and you’re a little older and you have those guys to compare yourself with?
A: Eh, I don’t know, kind of. I remember as a younger guy, I looked up to a lot of the older guys and once I gained their respect, and I talked to them, you know I respected their game. Now, it’s like flipped. Now I’m the older guy and the young guys look up to me and respect my game and things like that so, it’s all motivation. I guess the motivation is staying relevant and staying at the top of the charts, cause that’s what we all strive to do, be the best individually and help our team out. So, it’s all about competing.
Defensive Tackle Marcell Dareus
Q: You know, there’s been a lot of talk about your snap count the other day. Now, Sean [McDermott] said it’s ‘no big deal, it’s just the way that it is. We’re rolling the D-Line.’ What was your thought, though, playing I think only 34 of the snaps?
A: As 1/11th, I’m just doing my job. I’m just doing the plays they want me to do on first [and] second down, just being cooperative playing inside of the defense, doing exactly what’s asked of me to do.
Q: If you look at Sean’s track record going back to Carolina, he rotates his defensive tackles in. There are guys who played less than 70% of the snap count as starters. Were you aware of that and do you appreciate what he’s trying to do?
A: Of course. I like the rotation. I like what we got going on. I’m just going to play my role, doing the best I can. It takes a little getting used to, but at the same time we all feel fresh. We’re ready for the fourth quarter. The other thing [is] we’ll be ready later on in the season.
Q: Did you have any trouble getting into the flow of the game? Because you’re used to playing a lot.
A: I mean, it was a little challenging trying to get the ball rolling and working moves, wanting to get to the QB, trying to flash here, flash here, throw your fastball. Just trying to get that timing down with Kyle Williams and Jerry Hughes, things like that. Some things you kind of have to get used to. Other than that, we’re going to be fresh. We’re going to take enough reps and it’s a better decision for us down the road.
Q: When you’re not in there on third downs because you’re basically in on first and second down, does that eat at you a little bit? Because you’ve put up a lot of sack production in the league.
A: I mean, I’m 1/11th. I’m doing my job.
Q: Are you frustrated though? Like you said, you can’t get into a rhythm and you end up in a game where you don’t get any tackles. Now, again, your job isn’t the same as a linebacker. They make all the tackles. But when you don’t get a tackle, do you walk away from that a little bit frustrated like, “wow, I needed to make one.”
A: I mean, they stayed away from me the whole game. At the same time, I was out there doing the best I can with the plays that [were] given to me and what they were showing us. I can’t make them run my way and when they run away from me, they run their ass off away from me. They don’t want me to be jumping around on them. I’m going to do the best I can, play my ball and just play the calls as handed [to me].
Q: This offense is significantly better than the Jets offense, talent-wise, with Cam Newton to start. How challenging is this going to be, first of all to contain him, and everything else that goes with that?
A: Me, personally, I just wish Cam all the best with his shoulder. I hope he’s getting back a hundred percent with that so he can get back to his normal Cam Newton self. It’s just high-powered. His 50 percent is better than most people’s 100 [percent]. With the weapons that they have on offense, we just got to prepare for them. They can do a lot. They can make big plays, he still has a big arm, he can make plays with his legs, so we just got to be prepared for him and know what we [are] doing.
Q: What do you remember about playing [Newton] in the past?
A: I mean, extremely athletic. Playmaker, all over the place, he’s just that type of guy.
Q: As a competitor knowing how well you’ve done with the Pro Bowl, even your contract represents how good of a player you are. Is there any sense of disappointment that you can’t be more effective or be more used in this defense.
A: Hmm. That’s a good question. It’s a new regime and the way we’re doing this, I’m only one piece of the whole puzzle. I have to play my role [to] the best of my ability. It’s not about me. I’m just going to do what I have to do for the best [interests] of the team.
Q: When you’re a guy that’s used to being out there for a large percentage of the snaps, is it hard to get into a rhythm and then into a flow in the game when you’re in and out as much as you were on Sunday?
A: Of course, but what we’re doing, when it comes to the plays that [we] ran, the plays we’re calling, it’s set up in a way that’s best for us when it comes to the run, set up for the pass or play action and things like that. Whatever the play call and whatever we see, they’re doing the best thing for the whole team. It’s not necessarily for me or how many reps I get. Like I said, I’m only one piece so were going to do whatever we can. We’re going to get flows. We’ll have enough snaps by the end of the season [after] we get some games under our belt, no telling how we’re going to turn [out].
Q: Do you expect that to change week to week, then? It could maybe change?
A: I have no idea. I’m just a part of the team. I’m doing the best I can.
Quarterback Tyrod Taylor
Q: Tyrod, a lot of the passing went to LeSean [McCoy] and Charles [Clay] on Sunday. Is that a formula that can be sustainable long-term when it comes to being successful in passing?
A: Those guys are definitely a big part of our passing game; they create matchups that are hard inside for linebackers and safetys for most teams, and we’re gonna have to be able to take advantage of it when those opportunities present itself. Of course, we have playmakers on the outside as well too, so we’re gonna have to spread the ball around, but last week we were confident going out there and making plays with Charles and Shady, and they were able to go out there and make plays.
Q: Considering all the changes you had preseason when it came to receivers, you missed a week with a concussion, you never really had a chance to be together with that group. How much does it help to be able to have a tight end and a running back that are so much of an advantage when it comes to matchups, to be able to rely on them for as long as it takes you to get used to the guys on the outside?
A: I think we all fit each other’s strengths well. As far as the time missed, or the time not had with a receiving core, I think we’ve made up for that time. We’re gonna continue to keep building over the course of the year. Definitely having guys like Charles back, having guys like Shady back, even Nick O’Leary, the talent that they bring to the offensive side of the ball, the playmaking ability that they bring definitely helps this offense. I’m not worried about, like I said, the time that we haven’t spent together outside with the receivers. We’re on the same page, we talked through a bunch, looking sharp in practice, just gotta continue training up until the games.
Q: What stands out when you watch Carolina’s defense on film, in particular Luke Kuechly?
A: Fast flow defense, all those guys on that defense can run. Of course, Luke Kuechly, he’s probably the best linebacker in the league, very smart, instinctive guy. Just gonna have to go out there and play sound football. Our first challenge on the road against a very good defense, and we’re gonna have to execute every play and continue to keep focus throughout the whole game.
Q: Their young corners, Tyrod, took some lumps last year. I know there’s not a lot of film this year, but have you seen any kind of measure of improvement in those guys where you might not be able to take advantage of their inexperience?
A: Yes, those guys are playing well. The film I’ve been able to see of this year, through the preseason and last week’s game, they’re confident, a confident bunch. Even in last year’s tape, definitely a confident defense. There’s nothing that you can just go out there and look at ‘we have a mismatch here’. All those guys play confident, and, like I said, they have a very solid defense. It boils down to our execution each and every play.
Q: If there’s one thing that Coach [McDermott] can do, it’s kind of give you personnel files on these guys, in terms of strengths and weaknesses. I’m curious as to, is it direct communication with Coach, where you can just go, ‘hey Coach, what about this guy, this guy, this guy’ or does that get communicated to your quarterbacks coach and then you guys talk about it in the room? I’m just kind of curious about the process.
A: We’re all in it together. Of course, he’s been fortunate to coach those guys and we have open communication, it’s been like that since day one. Anything that I see on tape, I can ask him about. Just him giving his insight on the defense and personnel definitely helps when it comes to this group, but, like I said, with all the information given, all the tapes watched, we still have to go out there and execute the plays that Coach Rico calls and things we feel comfortable going out there and playing.
Q: Tyrod, what kind of sense do you have from Sean about his feelings going back and playing his former team, and the emotions that are coming along with that?
A: He’s expressed that he’s made it for certain that it’s not just about him going back, it’s a collective effort. We have a couple guys actually from Carolina that’s gonna go back and play their old team. I’ve been in that situation, but it’s about us as a unit going down and trying to accomplish something that we’ve set for the season, goals that we’ve set before the season. It’s gonna take all of us as a unit to go down there and do the things that we want to do.
Q: Tyrod, you were in that situation last year, facing your former team. How do you mentally prepare yourself to kind of put those emotions aside and not think about it?
A: Of course it’s gonna be on your mind, [we’re] humans, so going back to play against the team that you’ve spent so much time with, built relationships with people there, it’s definitely gonna be on your mind. You’ve gotta try your hardest just to put that aside and go out there and reply on your preparation and things that we’ve done, that we’re doing throughout the week and go out there and execute a great game plan.
Q: Does the scout team look any different on weeks like this because Sean knows so many intricacies in the defense? Do you get a little more of an in-depth look on exactly what they’re trying to do?
A: Yes, I mean, he’s given as much insight as he can. Of course, we don’t have their plans on defense, but they’re giving us the best look that they can, and they’re doing a great job of it, trying to prepare us for the look that we’re gonna get Sunday. Like I said, it still boils down to what we go out there and do. We have to prepare as much as we can, get as many different looks as we’re gonna see throughout practice, that way when we’re out there on the field Sunday, we can just react and not think.
Q: You mentioned that they’re a fast flow defense, when you have a defense that moves that quickly, there is some advantage to using misdirection and such, not trying to get the game plan from you, but do you find that they fall victim to over-pursuit at times?
A: Sometimes, yes, I will say that’s definitely something that I feel like we can get a chance at, as far as the misdirection, but I feel like that with every team. The way we run the football, the way Shady is down-hill, the way [Mike] Tolbert is down-hill, the way we’re able to stretch fields laterally, I think that we can definitely get those types of plays. We have to go out there and execute.
Q: How much of an advantage is it to have the defensive coordinator from the team you’re playing? The guy’s been running that defense for six years. I wonder, you have the guy that ran that defense for six years, but they know that too, they’re gonna make changes. Do you rely on everything he says or is it ‘okay, this is what we did six years ago, but they may adjust this way, they may adjust this way’, it’s not so much looking at their playbook, how much of an advantage is it?
A: It’s definitely an advantage if we use it the right way, like I said, Coach McDermott and other players that have been on the Carolina Panthers in the past couple years can give as much insight as they want. Guys still have to go out there and study throughout the week, prepare as if it’s any other game and try to challenge yourself in practice. We’re gonna get multiple looks in the game to try and make practice as hard as possible, that way when we’re out there on the field, we’re just reacting. Teams week in and week out can do the things they’re gonna do try to stop us, but ultimately it boils down to, on the offensive side of the ball, it’s execution.
Q: Is Mike Tolbert another guy you’ve talked to about some of the tendencies, maybe, of the defense?
A: Yes, I’ve talked to Mike Tolbert, I’ve talked to Joe Webb, the quarterback that was there, I’ve tried to get information from all of those guys just to try to get on the same page and make sure we’re seeing the same things.
Q: Is this the best look you’ve had on a defense going into a game, considering all the resources you’ve had to go with?
A: Execution, it boils down to execution.
Tight End Charles Clay
Q: How much insight is Sean [McDermott], Mike [Tolbert], guys like that? How much insight are you able to get from them because they were just in Carolina?
A: Yeah, it’s big. Any time you can pick their brain to get as much information as you can, granted you really don’t know what they’ll do or what they’ll throw at you until you get out there. At the same time, you take it but you’ve kind of got to be ready for anything and that’s kind of where we’re at.
Q: Is it simply a matchup thing that constitutes [you and LeSean McCoy] getting the ball more in that first game, or is that something where you guys have been working all offseason to try and make you more of a focal point of the offense?
A: I mean, we’ve been working all offseason to try and build that chemistry and things like timing with Tyrod [Taylor]. I come and try to pick his brain to figure out – that way he’s comfortable with me and knowing where I’ll be and I’m comfortable knowing what he’s thinking. But, week-to-week it’s usually a matchup deal and you kind of want to see how you match up against guys and try to take advantage of those.
Q: The fact that you have that chemistry, having been with Tyrod the past two years, how much do you think that plays into the fact that you and LeSean, the two guys who he’s most familiar with, are getting the ball more than those guys on the outside?
A: I think it plays into it a little bit. There’s a certain level of, I think he’s comfortable with me and, like I said, trusted knowing the way I run routes and knowing what he’s thinking in certain situations. I feel like it plays a little bit into it, but it’s definitely something I feel like going down the line, you’ll see how guys like Zay [Jones] and Jordan [Matthews] match up against guys and you’ll see those guys get a lot more targets in the weeks to come.
Q: You’ve battled through injuries since you’ve been here. How are you health-wise?
A: I’m good. I’m great. Taking it day by day and doing all I can to keep my body in tip-top shape but I feel good.
Fullback Mike Tolbert
Q: What’s it going to be like when you head back out onto the field in Carolina?
A: Football as normal. Obviously, I had a great time there, but I’m in a new place mentally, physically, and I’m ready to go. I’m ready to play football.
Q: Have the guys been picking your brain as far as what to expect?
A: Absolutely. You know, there’s a rule out there that snitches get stiches, but I’m going to get a lot of stitches this week, so [laughs].
Q: Are you closest with anybody on that team, maybe Cam [Newton] or anybody that you might have cut off contact with for the week?
A: Cut off contact? No. I mean, the NFL is a brotherhood. My friends are still my friends regardless of who we playing now. Sunday at 1:00 until probably 4:30, I don’t want to hear anything from you, but at 4:31 we’ll be hugging and having a good time again.
Q: Sean McDermott has kind of downplayed going back and making his return to Carolina. How has he been with you guys?
A: Same way. I mean, the same way. But he’s been the same guy since the day I signed here. It’s not about what everybody else is doing, it’s about what we do. We know that Carolina is a good football team, obviously, but we also know what we can exploit and we know what we have to do to beat them. It’s not about a big return home or this or that, it’s about going out at 1:00 on Sunday and getting a win.
Quarterback Joe Webb
Q: What do you make of the new situation here in Buffalo?
A: You know, for me with [Sean] McDermott and [Brandon] Beane, just by being in Carolina with them, the Bills [are] a great organization. Great teammates, they welcomed me with open arms. I’m just doing whatever I can to bring wins.
Q: Going back to Carolina, is anyone thinking of this as a revenge game or anything like that? Do you get that feel at all?
A: I wouldn’t say revenge game, because every game you’re trying to go out there and win every week. But I mean, this game does bring a chip on your shoulder so I know me, [Mike] Tolbert, [Kaelin] Clay, Leonard [Johnson], all of us who were over there in Carolina, this game is a chip on the shoulder.
Q: You were out there running routes today. How are you attacking that challenge?
A: It’s nothing new. The only thing is just learning the offense. Getting the offense down pat, learning the routes, the way they run routes. The dip, the split, the things like that. As far as running routes, I’ve been doing it for a long time so that’s nothing new.
Q: Do you think of yourself as a quarterback first or how do you define yourself?
A: Yeah, I’m a quarterback first. I’m a quarterback first, that’s what I’ve been the majority of my life. Everything else just came with it.
Safety Jordan Poyer
Q: Is there anything that you can build off of? The defensive backfield has obviously been together an entirety of one game now in the NFL, but it was a good game. Is there a certain level of confidence that you guys can build off of having that type of game in week one?
A: You know, you always want to build off the good, but you also have to understand that we did make some mistakes in that game and that they have to be corrected. I believe that we corrected them and moved forward in order to play fast on Sunday against Carolina. Of course you want to build off a victory, so you have to understand that victories do come. They’re hard to come by so you want to enjoy it but then at the same time, it’s a quick turnaround with us going to Carolina and having to perform well out there.
Q: How much of a challenge is Cam Newton to defend [as] a guy that can run and throw?
A: I mean, you’ve seen him play. You’ve seen what he can do. It’s going to be a huge test for us. The guy’s got weapons all around the ball, new additions out there and some old weapons that he’s played with. It’s going to be a huge test for us. We’re just going to work hard each day, study the film and Sunday we’re going to go and play fast.
Q: Jordan, how much of an advantage is it having Sean [McDermott] here? A guy who spent six years watching that offense and is so familiar with it.
A: Like I was saying, you’ve got a lot of guys on this team that came from Carolina. You get that and you’re able to take it into the film room and watch film with them and kind of pick up some information, pick up some tips in order for you to play faster on Sunday is huge. We’re using them to our advantage and guys like [Joe] Webb coming in and giving us tips on the quarterback and our stems and this and that, whatever. It’s huge.