Newton: When we're playing confident we're hard to beat

Quarterback Cam Newton meets with the media following Carolina's 31-21 victory over Cincinnati.

RE: Today’s performance

It was a great team win. Winning at home is very important, very pivotal for us and our success. For us to get a win heading into the bye and get a lot of guys mended up, it’s pivotal for us to come back and pick up right where we left off.

RE: The offensive line

At the end of the day, you’ve got a job to do. It doesn’t matter who it is, it doesn’t matter if we pick up somebody tomorrow, their expectations are to come in and play and give effort and that’s what those guys have been doing. Yeah, we’ve got a lot of guys that probably weren’t our prototypical line when the season started, but they’re doing a hell of a job and you can’t tell a difference. It’s obvious that there’s going to be a lot of pressure – good pressure – to see guys playing with confidence, knowing exactly what to do and we’re still expecting big things from guys that are still there.

RE: Christian McCaffrey’s performance

C-Mac is a ballplayer. It’s hard for a lot of people to label him, they want to say he’s this but playing like today, he’s obviously not just a receiving back, he’s a total running back. He shows signs that this is not a fluke, he’s been doing this his whole career – collegiately as well as professionally. The fact that we have a special talent, you can’t really gear in by using packages for him, he’s in there every single down and the more comfortable he gets – not only in passing routes but in blocking protections as well ­– that is a big thing for our offense to have.

RE: Whether today’s offense is what Norv Turner wants

We spoke momentarily afterwards and it’s just keeping defenses off balance. Keeping a balanced run game, balanced pass game, taking shots when they’re there, guys making contested catches, guys blocking on the perimeter, guys busting their tails all over the football field offensively and defensively. A very stingy defense, any time a ball is popped up in the air, guys aren’t looking to bat it down, they’re looking to create turnovers. When you’ve got a team playing confident like we’re playing, it makes us hard to beat but as we go into this bye week, we know we can’t let off the pedal. We have to mend up, get guys back, get guys healthy, keep guys healthy that are healthy and be ready to go when we get back.

RE: How things picked up going into the second quarter

One good thing: we didn’t deter off our game plan. We went three-and-out which isn’t good early but that didn’t force us to panic, we stayed on our plays that we already had pre-determined and seeing what the defense gave us through that allowed us to keep finding different openings as well in the defense.

RE: His fumble recovery

I’ve been bashed before for not jumping on fumbles, so I just wanted to make sure, come hell or high water, I was going to get that fumble. Just trying to create good habits.

RE: Donte Jackson’s confidence and play

Coach has said it numerous times, we embrace egos. Especially if it’s controlled. Any time you’ve got a guy that’s feeling confident – if you don’t have confidence in yourself, who in the hell do you expect to have confidence in you? That’s how we feel. It’s not like it is conduct detrimental to the team or it’s taking away from somebody else’s preparation. Donte’s been a person who has come in and surprised me just off the mere fact of his learning ability. He just sits back, on the field he’s a different person but when we’re in meetings he’s extremely quiet and very observant and you respect that as a vet looking and seeing guys take notes and see and gauge the tempo of the team. He’s been asking questions, doing his job and making great opportunities when they’re there to be made.

RE: Efe Obada’s performance

Opportunity. Opportunity knocked on his door and he opened it smiling. Another quiet person but when I come in – I try to do my contrast therapy, hot tub, cold tub – and I’m big on meditation, seeing yourself doing certain things, putting good energy into the world and every time I see him in there, he has his eyes closed. He’s very intellectual, super smart, practices extremely hard and for him to kind of be a developmental player, not having the big university, just the guy that came aboard and really looking at it and looking at guys and trying to see how to practice and how to go about being a professional athlete and to see him have a day like today, the sky’s the limit for him.

RE: The offensive line and the offense’s 230 rushing yards

We want to impose our will. We are a team that can attack a defense many different ways and as we go about it as the game progresses, I see the body language of the defensive line and the body language of defenders and they’re wearing down. Just another achievement for the offensive line to see them gaining confidence as the game goes on, to see them finishing blocks and allowing running lanes to open up. You try to create good habits as the season goes on.

RE: How it feels to break the tie with the Bengals

Great. Really good. They started off on fire. I remember what you’re referring to, last time we played them, every time we had something, they came back with something and every time they had something, we came back with something, so for us to get a win today is big. It’s a sneaky win for us, very big for our confidence going forward. That was a good team that we played today, we understand that and they were coming in extremely confident, 2-0, and we wanted to just play Panther football – be very stingy on defense, opportunistic on offense – and that’s where we got us.

RE: His unsportsmanlike penalty

The defender just kept slapping at the ball. He kept slapping, tapping, missed, slap, miss, slap, miss, so I just gave him the ball. I didn’t know that was taunting, can’t do that. Kids, if you’re watching, don’t do that at home. I was more embarrassed off the mere fact that I got a penalty because I’m always the preacher of “focus, hone in” as I’m taking the walk of shame back to the bench, I was like “I need to listen to my own self talk.” But I’m just happy that our defense bailed me out and we were able to get the ball back.

RE: Ryan Kalil’s effort on the 24-yard screen pass to CJ Anderson

That’s not something that I’m surprised about. Kalil is a guy who effort is his thing. He’s not overly big, he’s not super strong; his mental approach to this game, that’s his edge. I’m happy for him.

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