Ron Rivera: "It was a team victory."

Ron Rivera Postgame Press Conference vs Ravens

RE: Today’s performance

Yes, I believe so. I thought our guys came out and did some good things in all three phases. Defense was a little disappointed when we came out in that first series and was a little discombobulated in terms of being able to settle in, get them into a positive situation for us. We did miss some tackles early on but once they settled in I think they got a feel for what to anticipate. I thought Eric (Washington) did a nice job calling the defenses. On the offensive side we got into a really good rhythm. Norv (Turner) mixed in some personnel very well. Cam Newton made some great decisions and really just pleased with that. Special teams, fortunate enough for us, they caught them with a little illegal procedure, which helped us out obviously, but then I thought our guys settled in and we had a couple nice returns as well.

RE: DJ Moore and receivers’ performance today

We had him playing in a few different spots so we moved him around to try and make it difficult to key in on him. I think all of the receivers did some really good things. We saw some with Curtis Samuel. We saw Jarius Wright make some plays and then Devin Funchess makes his plays that he always does. I thought Greg Olsen really came up big and made some plays. Ian Thomas got his opportunities again so it’s good to see Ian back out there. I think both backs when they had chances to run the ball, ran hard. That was good to see. I was really pleased with the decision making, as I said earlier, of our quarterback.

RE: If DJ Moore and Curtis Samuel on field at the same time affects defense

Yes, most certainly. At that point there are so many different things that we can do with those two young men on the football team. But again, at the same time, we have some guys that have specialties as well. Coach Norv Turner and the offense will continue to devise things that fit what we do.

RE: Fourth down play with Taylor Heinicke

What happened on that, we wanted to throw the Hail Mary initially but Cam didn’t want to throw it. He didn’t want to strain himself out there in all honesty. So Scott Turner suggested we put Taylor out there. So they went out there and what happened was, they had a guy go out to jam on Greg Olsen so we were going to throw the Hail Mary with Taylor. But as soon as that guy came in, Greg signaled over to Taylor and Taylor saw him, and it was a pitch and catch. At that point get as much as you can and get out of bounds with time on the clock. Those two executed it very well.

RE: Was the delay intentional for the fourth down Heinicke play?

No, the delay was not intentional. Because at that point, in all honesty, Cam just didn’t kneel, didn’t want to throw it. We didn’t want him and he had every reason not to. We thought, you know what, that’s a good decision. So we didn’t want to put him out there into a bad position. I’m not going to take credit for a couple of guys playing very smart football. Those guys deserve all the credit, both Taylor Heinicke and Greg Olsen.

RE: Why was the 61-yard field goal not attempted?

Crosswind. He was really concerned. Chase Blackburn had told me prior to that, that there was crosswind coming through on that side and he wasn’t as accurate from that. But hopefully the way he hit that one, he might have made that one too. He is kicking the ball very well. But they had come to me and explained to me where they thought the ball needed to be and on that last play, where we picked up those extra few yards, we were able to kick it.

RE: Cam Newton’s arm

He did not want to strain himself throwing it and take a chance hurting himself. No, he just didn’t want to do it. He came to the sidelines and told us and again, I’m going to listen to what my players have to tell me. I thought it was a heck of a decision by him, just being upfront. We have a little bit of a new normal with him as far as we have to be smart, and we had an opportunity to not make a bad decision. As I said, I’m just going to be upfront with you all on this. I’m not going to take credit for what the players did.

RE: Difference in why is Cam Newton not running the ball as much compared to last season?

I think a little bit about some of the things we do and the way we do them. There are some differences in the style of offense we have. Again, going forward, it’s really about the decision making process that the quarterback has. I think he understands what is happening underneath, a lot more so and he sees it even better.

RE: DJ Moore versus opposing team’s secondary

I would just say he was a victim of a guy. He was trying to make some extra yards and really what happened in that situation, you have to give credit to Josh Norman. He is a very crafty football player. He understands that and its always been part of his game. He victimized DJ. But like I said then, I’m not going to pull him out. This young man needs to play football. Curtis Samuel needs to plays football. These young players need to be on the field. That’s how they develop and we are going to develop as a football team with those kind of players.

RE: How much emphasis has been placed on knowing when to protect the football?

I think that part was one of those things that he learned instantly. Because again, if you go back and watch the rest of the game where you see him getting the ball, he protects it. He knows when he needs to curl up with it. I have to admit, I held my breath a couple of times today watching him fight for those extra yards. But then I see him bring it in, cradle it so he has gotten the message and has done a heck of a job.

RE: Captain Munnerlyn against Willie Snead IV

His hamstring tightened up on him, straining to try and keep up with Willie. Willie is a heck of a football player. Those two guys had a heck of a battle. When you really watch a slot player play against a quality nickel and you see them battle and fight and scratch and claw and do what they can, I think that is very impressive. Those two positions are very valuable to a football team.

RE: Secondary stepping up today

It was. As I said, it was a team victory. I thought the pass rush harassed the quarterback and was able to get him to dump the ball underneath. Also, I think Eric Washington mixed up our coverages very nicely. So there really wasn’t a chance to get a beat on what we were trying to do.

RE: Seeing young offensive players’ performances bring excitement for future?

It does. I am excited about what it potentially can be but again at the same time, we have to continue to do our job. I thought the offensive line played tremendously, especially against one of the best pass rushing defenses in the league period. They did a heck of a job. I thought what Coach John Matsko and Drew Terrell do with these guys weekly, is impressive. Again, the protections that are devised by the coaching staff gives these guys the chance to give the quarterback an opportunity to make plays.

RE: Do you see a difference in Cam Newton this season?

I do, most certainly. I think a little bit is also his maturation as a football player and understanding the game even more so. His development the first seven years is exactly what we are hoping for. Now we have an opportunity to take another step with him. He has done a great job embracing the chances and the demands that this style of offense that Coach Norv Turner has brought to this organization. I’m pretty excited about it.

RE: The decision to hire Norv Turner?

I think it’s been a very big plus for us. There is a lot of things we still have to work out as a team but again, what he has brought, what Scott Turner has brought, has been really good for our offensive team.

RE: How does a 10-play, 99-yard drive affect the opposing defense and your offense?

That can be demoralizing. It’s tough because when you have opportunities to get off the field, you want to do it. Believe me, as I said in my opening statement, I was a little concerned because they went down on their first drive and that to me was a little disappointing because we had some opportunities so you have to credit them. We were fortunate that we made some plays when we had to.

RE: Special teams downing ball at one-yard line

That was, I think, one of those things that gives you an opportunity as well. Because if you can hold him down there, you’ll get the ball with good field position and that’s exactly what happened that led to our first score.


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