Rivera: Our guys accepted the challenge

Head coach Ron Rivera fields questions following Carolina's Week 9 win over Tampa Bay.

RE: The versatility of the offense

It’s kind of neat to see the different group of guys we have and to have them come out and all contribute one way or another. It speaks well to the personnel that we have here on both sides of the ball, in fact in all three phases. I’m very pleased with it. We’ve still got some young guys that have a lot to learn. We had a few mistakes out there and those are things we have to get corrected.

RE: Misdirection allowing the offense to play fast

I think the biggest thing when you look at it, we use the right kind of guys. Norv [Turner] as far as creating things and putting things together, we’re taking advantage of those types of guys and we are putting them into position. That’s probably the biggest thing we that we have to look at is making sure we are putting them into position to have success.

RE: The success in using misdirection today and this season

I think a lot of it is just having to do with the personnel and getting them all back on the field healthy. Remember again, Curtis [Samuel] was out for a little bit so there were some things he was still working and trying to put into play for us. Just real pleased with that. Real pleased with again, the different personnel groupings that we have and having them all come in and contribute.

RE: Curtis Samuel and what he offers the team now that he is healthy

He is just explosive and he is a dynamic playmaker. A lot like in the mold of DJ [Moore], he is tough to bring down. But you look at the other guys we had out there and you look at the traditional players we have and you see Devin Funchess making plays, you see Jarius Wright coming up with a couple of big catches so again, the whole contribution by that group I think is what has been very good for us.

RE: Torrey Smith

It gives us a different type of game. Torrey [Smith] is our vertical attack guy and he has been very good at that for us. But with these young guys we can go sideways with them because of their quickness, speed and ability to make cuts. As I said, they are tough to bring down.

RE: What does the double reverse say about Norv Turner?

That he is willing to call it. It’s something, again, that when you play a defensive unit with as many talented athletes that they have that can run well, you’ve got to get them off balance. We were able to do that early on with the first reverse and then coming back with a double reverse, I think really caught them again because they over pursued and it played in really well to the game planning portion of it.

RE: How effective was the pass rush/pressure on Ryan Fitzpatrick?

We were very effective except for probably the end of the third quarter, into the fourth quarter. They were able to lock us up upfront. I thought our guys rushed well for the most part but we had a little bit of a lull which got a little bit hairy there for a little bit. For the most part we were able to keep it in front of us which was important. We did give up a couple of chunk plays which was disappointing because we had guys in position to make plays and we didn’t unfortunately. But again, as I said earlier, we just have to make sure we are giving them an opportunity to make plays and we are putting them into position. Real pleased with the effort that we got. This is the number one offense in the NFL right now so we were able to hold them to right around 300 yards so kudos to what Eric [Washington] and the coaching staff did and kudos to the defensive guys going an execute.

RE: Does team take it personally going into a week when facing a top ranked opposing unit?

It’s a challenge. It really is. When you go back to last week and talk about the number one defense and their ability to get after the passer and the way our guys anchored down and held up. Then today coming up against a

very dynamic, explosive offense and being able to keep them in front of us speaks well to the fact that our guys accepted the challenge. Like I said, that was an impressive thing and very pleased with that.

RE: Is today James Bradberry’s best game of the season?

It was one of them. It really was one of them. He did some really good things and really was pleased with the effort we got from James [Bradberry]. It was as solid as it gets. Donte [Jackson] did some really good things. A little tweak with him. He blew a coverage and we will talk about that with him. But again, we had some mistakes by some of the young guys as I said earlier and those are the things we are going to have to live with. We know they are going to do some things but we, as coaches, got to make sure we are continuing to instruct them and direct them and give them the chance to continue to grow. That’s why we are playing as many young guys as we are playing because we think the future is going to be bright with these young guys.

RE: Adjustments going forward in facing elite tight ends

No. I think, again, we will continue to work the way we do things. Again, you also look at the fact that we have played against some really good tight ends but what they also have had very complimentary wide receivers. I guess you look at it and you sit and we think about how do we beat teams with great players like that. You have to be able to keep them in front of you. Unfortunately, somebody is going to come up and make a play for them and the tight ends have done a great job to take nothing away from those guys. Our guys are battling and doing the best they can.

RE: Eric Reid giving team a spark and then playing through shoulder injury

Very much so and very courageous. The young man came in and had a big interception, a big return and set us up for a touchdown which was great and helped kind of start the momentum for us which I think we needed obviously, because of their ability to score. Then to watch him fight through that shoulder sprain was very admirable. Again, just a great effort on his part.

RE: Different players stepping up each week showing the number of weapons team has on offense

When you look at the offense and see the things that happen, you see the very steady players. You see the Greg Olsen – very steady. You see the Christian McCaffrey, very steady. You see [Devin] Funchess being very steady, Jarius Wright. We have a couple of dynamic young guys who can be explosive which we see. Then who knows what will happen next week. Somebody else may step up. It’s exciting to have these kind of players on the field that give you an opportunity to succeed.

RE: What does Mario Addison provide?

I think the biggest thing is the explosive off the end and can make an impact. It’s good to have a guy like that just making plays for you.

RE: How important was the 90 yard scoring drive after Tampa Bay brought the game within one touchdown?

It’s important to do what we did. Again, we had opportunities in the third quarter and we didn’t convert. We made a couple mistakes that hurt ourselves but again, it just shows when we have to do things, we have that kind of ability.

RE: Concerns on injuries with the short week

Well the only one right now that I am aware of is the shoulder that Eric [Reid] has and hopefully we can get that shored up and have him ready for us on Thursday.

RE: Christian McCaffrey hurdle of Tampa Bay player

That was pretty impressive. He is an athletic, dynamic football player, who just makes plays for us. That was about as exciting as it gets.

RE: Cam Newton having teammates around him to help carry load, especially in fourth quarter

It is interesting to go back and think about that, which I have to be honest with you, and you are right, it is one of those things that you think about that the way that he played in that fourth quarter against Philadelphia, the way he spread the ball around, his completion rates, his conversions on third and fourth down and the steady play. He has carried that over each week the last two weeks. Again, it is pretty exciting. We as a football team have to continue to play to our abilities and more so than anything else, just be consistent as a football team.

RE: Keeping the team focused and disciplined when the opposing team is driving, like in third quarter today

Well I think the biggest thing that happened was we made a couple of mistakes and you just try to get those guys to focus back in on what we needed to do, more so than anything else. This was a situation where a lot of it had to do with us. We didn’t play to our abilities at a certain stretch but you have to give them credit. Our biggest thing was we had a couple guys make a couple mental errors. We had to take a couple timeouts unfortunately. Then we had to accept a penalty because again, we weren’t quite sure where to line up. But as I said, that’s part of playing young guys. When you play young guys, they are going to make mistakes. Again, we can’t let those things get in the way and define the game. We were able to settle in, we got a penalty unfortunately, and then Cam [Newton] throws a touchdown pass. It’s about making plays when you get the chance. We were fortunate enough at the right time we made a couple of plays.

RE: Coverage of Tampa Bay’s fake punt

For the most part, Chase [Blackburn] put the guys in alert. For the most part, what we are going to do is we try to make sure that we have eyes on the punter. The punter goes through his motions and if he is obviously not punting the ball, then these guys have to find what’s happening. They were in the position to. I thought our gunner, Curtis Samuel, was very aware. When the guy tried to cut back inside with the ball, Curtis was in the area. Again, it just speaks well to what Chase is doing when they work our guys and they talk about those things.

RE: Increase in interceptions this season over last

I think the secondary is really kind of shaping up nicely and the more they play together, I think the more opportunities they will have. It is good to see those guys come up and make plays when they had opportunities. Again, as you asked earlier, James Bradberry had a tremendous game and probably the only thing that would have made it an even better game is if he had intercepted one of those balls. He was there where he needed to be, knocked those balls down and defended very well.

RE: Did you expect Donte Jackson would lead team in rookie season with four interceptions?

Not necessarily but we expected Donte to come in and play. He is a special athlete and he is one of the guys that I thought our scouts did a great job. As I told you guys before, Marty [Hurney] was very patient in the draft and when the opportunity came, he was there.

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