Coach Rivera: Redskins "are a good football team."

Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera reacts to a call against the New York Giants during the first quarter at Bank of America Stadium.Photo: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Panthers Head Coach Ron Rivera addresses Washington media ahead of Redskins on Sunday.

On what he liked about Washington Redskins CB Josh Norman at the Carolina Panthers:

"Well, the biggest thing about Josh that we really appreciated was his work ethic first of all. He works as hard as anybody I've been around. Secondly, it's his personality. We had a little thing going during that Super Bowl run. I told the guys 'hey look, keep your personality, be who you are but play within our core values'. And that was Josh. He kept his personality. He did the things that made Josh, Josh. Now, we put a lot of pressure on Josh. We'd roll our coverages away from him. We'd lock him up on their best guys and he came through and just continued to come through for us."

On letting Norman go in free agency:

"Eventually, we believed we lost something special. I mean there was a toughness about Josh…hell in 2015, he and the quarterback get into a fight in the middle of training camp. So, I mean there was a swagger about him. And you know what? Everybody respected him for it. The quarterback respected him for it and he respected the quarterback. You know what? I think that's what really helped to make us what we were."

On if Norman was a part of the team's personality:

"I think he was a piece of that personality. I think an integral part of that personality. I really do. Because, again, there was a confidence and a swagger about him that if you tell him 'Josh they're gonna hit you up…piece of cake coach, gotta adopt.' I mean he'll go out and do it and he's worked on it. He just didn’t say he was going to do it, he worked on doing it. I mean that's what is impressive. Guys will tell you 'oh I got it'. Josh is like I got it and then go practice it."

On Carolina Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey:

"Well, we've always felt he could handle that large role mostly because if you go back to his sophomore and junior year at Stanford, nobody carried the ball between the tackles more than he did. He was the most productive overall back in the NCAA coming out and he had a huge workload at Stanford. I mean, they ran power and they ran it up and down the field and he was right in the middle of it all. Just knowing that he had done all that in major college football playing in the PAC-12, we felt he could handle it. He's done a great job for us. His role is very diverse and puts him in a position to have success for us and so far so good."

On Carolina Panthers WR Devin Funchess:

"Well, you know it doesn’t show in his stats but Funchess has done exactly what he needed to. He's come up with some big catches when we've needed them. He blocks well down the field. He's done those types of things since he's been here and I don’t know that he's really gotten the credit because we're a multi-faceted offense. But I think the guy has done exactly what we need from him and he's been tremendous."

On Carolina Panthers WR Curtis Samuel:

"Well, you know, a little stunted with the health issue, but last week he really showed what he's capable of. He got winded so he didn’t play a lot down the stretch. But when he's on the field, he's been very productive for us."

On if he ever wondered how Norman would handle not being the same player as he was in Carolina:

"Well I'll say this, we play a little different style of defense compared to what they're playing. And that's all I'll say about that. Josh has always been a terrific football player in my eyes. Again, I just think for us, he did a great job."

On if he thinks Norman is more interested in being a celebrity than a football player:

"I think that's all part of the persona. I think it is all part of the persona for all the players. The only thing I can tell you about is the guy that we had here and he was terrific. He did the things that we needed him to do and because of that, he got an opportunity to get the contract he earned."

On Carolina Panthers WR DJ Moore:

"Explosive football player. A guy that we're trying to figure out ways to get the ball in his hands so that when he does get the ball in his hands, he makes plays."

On what makes Moore a good football player:

"A good route runner, good hands, terrific hands. I mean he plucks the ball. He doesn’t wait for the ball to come to him. He's tough to bring down once he gets the ball in his hands."

On the Washington Redskins offense:

"I think they are a good football team. I think they are very well coached. I think Jay [Gruden] does a great job with them. I think they've got some quality football players on that side of the ball. I like who they are, and we will see."

On if he is still the same coach in regards to play calling:

"I think it's all about the situations you are in. That’s what it is about. I've had people criticize me for doing certain things, and I don’t know, we just keep on winning. Again, I'm not saying I'm right all the time, but every decision that you make is not based on doing it willy-nilly, you are just going to go out and gamble it away. I mean you've really got to think about how you're playing as a football team and I'd like to belive I go on my gut more than anything else. It's interesting; I'm going to give you an example. We decided to punt at one time and people killed me saying 'oh you should have gone for it' and we ended up getting the ball back going down and scoring and winning the game. Again, everybody asked, 'why did you punt?' Well, we punted because I thought our punter was having a good day. We could get him inside the 20. We get a three-and-out, get the ball back with around two minutes left to go with two timeouts and that’s exactly what happened. We got the ball back; we had two minutes and two timeouts. You do things based on the flow of the game. You do things on the way your offense and defense are playing. Sometimes, I may go for it because I don’t think we can stop them on defense. Sometimes, I'll punt because I think we are going to stop them on defense. Sometimes, I'll go for it on fourth down because I like what we've been doing on offense all day. It's funny because a lot of people want to get caught up in the analytics and what those analytics say, but there are some things that can't be measured by numbers, you know what I'm saying? It's the heart of your team, the rhythm of the game, it's the momentum of the game; it's the game situation. You can look at a sheet of paper to tell you to do certain things, but I will tell you right now, if their nose tackle is better than your center, or your center is better than their nose tackle, usually the best man wins."

On Carolina Panthers S Eric Reid and his adjustment to the team:

"He's been great. He's fit in exactly as we had hoped for. Again, at the end of the day guys, when we made this decision, we made it about football and football only."

On Reid's adjustment to the locker room:

"Very much so, he's someone that's fit in very nicely. Our guys in the locker room, we would like to believe that we have the right type of personalities in that locker room and the guys we've had have always been good. We've been very fortunate that we have a group of guys that understand what we are trying to accomplish. At the end of the year, every year, I lay out what our primary goals are and what the vision is. To be a part of that, you've got to understand that when you're in our locker room, you're a part of what we are trying to accomplish. It's about what goes on in that locker room and I think at the end of the day, people have just got to understand that it's about the locker room. We have a little something that I always tell the players. I tell them that the best team has a great sense of family, that the best family has a great culture, and within that culture, there is tremendous character. That’s what we've tried to do, is to ensure a good, quality locker room."

On Reid's protest and the support in the locker room:

"I think probably the biggest reason is that it's not an issue to me. I believe in the First Amendment, and that's all he did, he exercised his First Amendment. As far as I'm concerned, he's an American citizen, who is entitled to exercise his rights."

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