Sun, 29 Nov 2020

What They Said: Postgame Quotes from Panthers-Bears

Carolina Panthers
19 Oct 2020, 20:44 GMT+10

HEAD COACH MATT RHULE

Opening Statement

Obviously disappointed in the result today. A lot of credit to Chicago. They made the plays you need to make to win the game. I thought our defense hung in there and battled. I think they had two touchdowns. One off the missed field goal, one off of the interception at the beginning of the half. I thought offensively we are just out of sync, turned the ball over, weren't protecting the ball. Way too many miscues. Way too many things that hurt us today. So, all that being said, we still had a chance to win the ball game at the end. One throw here, one catch here, one stop, one blocked punt and it might have been a different result. Give credit to Chicago. That's a good football team. Coach (Matt) Nagy had done a great job. Nick Foles is a winner. They hung in there and they made the plays they had to make.

RE: Teddy Bridgewater's accuracy at end of the game

The one to DJ (Moore), I'd have to see it on tape to see what happened, really where it was. But that's a play that we have to make all around. The last interception, obviously that is unfortunate. Can't happen. I think from the very beginning, you know, credit to Chicago, we were under duress. Teddy ran the ball more than I've seen him run the ball. He was having to extend plays with his feet. Their pressure gave us problems at times and like I said, just could never quite get into sync. I'm looking here that we were 3-of-13 on third down. We had been in the top 5, top 7 in the NFL in third downs so obviously that's something we're not used to and it happened today. Credit them, they did a good job. We just weren't in sync. There were times we were running routes and guys were not where they were supposed to be, running the wrong wrote. So, I just thought it was a global issue today offensively.

RE: If there's anything he is seeing regarding the red zone issues this season

No. I hate to say it but I'm seeing us just not get in. I thought we had a great play to Robby [Anderson] for a touchdown. Pressure came off the left edge. He had to throw it to DJ [Moore] instead. Something we have to solve. We did a great job to get them to jump offsides to extend the drive. I thought we were going to punch it in there. You're not going to win games if you don't punch drives in the red zone in for touchdowns and they're always field goals. I see here we were 1-for-3 today in the red zone for touchdowns. You're just not going to win. Those are things we have to continue to improve upon. I think the thing about us is we see every week, hey, here is something we have to get better at, to improve upon. We saw that. My challenge to the team will be let's come back, let's get it figured out. But the red zone is clearly an issue.

RE: What made the Bears offense difficult to stop on third down

They were in third and manageable. They were in third and three, third and four, third and five. They found guys open in zone. They beat us on a slant and deep in-cut in man. We pressured them and Nick Foles got the ball out. He scrambled. He did what needed to...Like I said, they didn't have a ton of errors. They had 260 yards of offense. That's not much in today's football but they were key yards. They were important yards. They converted when they had to, went 2-for-4 in the red zone in touchdowns. We just have to be better in all those areas.

RE: What he sees is the break down on the offensive line specifically in the end zone

I think part of it is Khalil Mack. I think they were running some pretty exotic games. There was no quick throw that he could step up into the pocket and find somebody. I thought our vertical pass unit game today was good. We hit a couple of deep balls to Robby (Anderson) and to DJ (Moore). They did a good job of taking away a lot of the other throws and we didn't make them pay for it. I wouldn't say it was any one person or any one thing. When it came to protecting, especially on third down, we weren't as good as we needed to be.

RE: Not going for in on fourth-and-two at the end of the first half

I knew defensively we were going to hold them pretty well. I forget what the score was at the time. I think it was 10-3 and I thought hey, two downs and we will run it here, we'll go for it. We thought we had a good play on the pass to Robby (Anderson). Incomplete. I just thought it best to take the points. Had it been fourth and one, I would have gone for it there. Credit to them, they came down and answered in two minute and kicked a field goal as time expired. They negated our field goal. But I think it was 10-3 at the time, I thought the chance to make it 10-6 and the way I looked at it was we were not playing really well in the first half. We were playing tight, like a team was feeling like hey, we have to find a way to win this game as opposed to relaxing and playing. I thought getting some energy going into the locker room would be a good thing. Credit to them, they answered.

RE: Jeremy Chinn's interception

It was huge. As I remember that play, we got tremendous pressure on the play. I think he scrambled to his right and threw it up and Jeremy made that play. I look at defense at times in the fourth quarter and I saw Derrick Brown, I saw Chinn, I saw Troy Pride, I saw Sam Franklin, you know an undrafted free agent this year, I saw a bunch of young guys out there playing and I think they hold their own when they go out there. Jeremy's certainly no exception. A huge play by him and gave us a chance to answer that call after we threw that pick...fumble, excuse me.

RE: If the Bears defensive physicality was a factor in offensive struggles today

Not the missed assignments and errors. They are a good team, so I always want to give them credit. They brought a lot of pressure that got us out of whack. Their pass rush, they brought some blitzes today, a lot credit to them. That being said, we can never control the opponent, we can control ourselves. We did not, in my opinion, play as well as we wanted to play. I think that's everybody. The Panthers didn't play the game they should have played or wanted to play today, specifically in some of those key situations on offense. The Bears are now whatever they are, 5-2 or 4-2, for a reason. They have earned the right to have that. They played well. They made key plays. I thought we played well in a lot of areas. We just didn't make the key plays you have to make whether it's the fourth and two, whether it's the blocked punt, whether it's the field goal. There are so many of those things that if you make one or two of those, you win the game. My message to the guys is hey we have to play better but you can also see we have a pretty decent team; they play well together. It just wasn't as good as we wanted it to be today.

RE: Keeping consistency on eliminating turnovers game to game

We're the type of team that if we win the turnover battle, we will probably win the game. Its going to be hard to overcome the turnover battle when its 3-1. I think in the NFL when you are minus-2, I think its like 82% that the other team is going to win. I think a lot of that at times has to do with their pressure. When the other team is bringing pressure, the quarterback is under duress then the ball has the tendency to get away. At the same time, there were too many plays like that today. We had one that, obviously, came back. We had the fumble. To me, you just go back and sometimes in life you have to relearn lessons unfortunately. So, we go back and say, hey, let's get better at this, let's get better at this. The key for us is to make sure we get better next week, that we improve.

RE: Sam Franklin's performance

I didn't really have a chance to see it while he was out there. I saw him make a physical tackle. I have a lot of confidence in Sam. When he (Juston Burris) goes down, we put him in, and we trust that he is ready to go. I'm sure he played well on tape technically. I'm sure there are things they will coach him on. Other than that, at least out there, he certainly belongs.

RE: What Jeremy Chinn meant to the defense this season

I'll probably limit my comments just to today. I'm probably not in the position mentally to be thinking of the whole year. He is a great member of the team. He works hard. He makes physical plays. His versality - he is a hybrid player that can play on the back end, can play upfront. I'll have to go back and watch it to see all the things he did right and wrong but obviously that interception was a huge play. He'll continue to get better and better.

QB TEDDY BRIDGEWATER

Opening Statement

This is a tough one. Hats off to Chicago, they played a good game. In a game like the one today, you've got to make sure you maximize every opportunity. All you ever ask for is a chance to go down and score, tie a game up or win a football game and the defense did just that, gave us a chance and we just didn't finish it. We've just got to get better moving forward, learn from today, watch the tape tomorrow and just try to keep moving forward.

*RE: His last two throws of the game *

I think fourth down we just missed the throw, it's all us. We've got to just execute better. Then the defense gave us a chance at the end of the game with a stop and we turned the ball over. So, it was just two situations where, great football teams capitalize in those situations and they take advantage of it, and we didn't do that today.

*RE: How much the Bears defense contributed to the Panthers struggles today *

Hats off to those guys, they have a good defense and they executed their game plan well. For us, we've just got to find ways to get back on track. We were knocked off course from the opening kickoff and it was like we never really got back on track, so we're going to learn from today. Like I told some of the guys in the locker room, this game can humble you so I think a game like today is good for us. We can learn from it - never want to experience what happened today again - and try to move forward.

*RE: How much the Bears pressure got to him today *

Those guys had a good rush plan and they played some good coverage too, so you credit those guys for doing what they did well. We're going to watch the tape tomorrow, see some of the things we can improve on and go from there.

*RE: Issues in the red zone *

We've just got to be better. That's all it is. When we get down there, we've just got to be better. We want to make sure we fix it next week.

*RE: What the Bears defense did to stifle the passing and running game *

They just had a good game plan. Those guys up front did a good job of running their games, rushing the passer, clogging up holes in the run game. We'll watch the tape tomorrow and see what else they did well and some of the things we didn't do well.

RE: Struggling with the run game in the red zone

We've just got to be better and we're going to continue to just find out what's going wrong when we get down there. We want to make sure we're scoring touchdowns and not settling for field goals. We want to get better and we're going to make sure we continue to put emphasis on scoring touchdowns in the red zone and not settling for field goals.

*RE: Issues on third down today *

I really feel like we didn't execute well today. We could sit here and point out red zone, third down, not running the ball, me having to run, things like that, but it just comes down to execution. We didn't execute well. We didn't play our best football. We have guys on this team who can make plays, guys who step up and make plays and they've been making plays all year, but we just didn't execute well today. And when you play a good football team, the margin for error is very thin and I'm pretty sure we learned that today.

*RE: If there is anything he can put his finger as to why the team was out of sync today *

No. We've just got to find a way when things aren't going the way we expect it to we've just got to find a way to feed off our defense or find our own energy and that'll take care of itself. Moving forward, like I said, like I'll keep saying, today was a learning experience for a lot of guys. This game will humble you and I'm pretty sure it humbled a lot of people today.

WR DJ Moore

RE: On the scramble play in the end zone in the first half and the fourth-and-two play in the fourth quarter.

Every ball in the air I think I should catch, that's that. And the fourth-and-two, just have to come down with the ball at the end of the day.

RE: Whether there was anything in particular on third down that caused challenges and whether the offense was impacted more by the absence of Curtis Samuels or the Bears defense

With Curtis (Samuel) down, it is the next man up so we had that mentality. We just have to be better on third downs. Today wasn't our best day. We just have to go back and fix it.

RE: Comments by Coach Rhule and Teddy Bridgewater that the offense was out of sync

Just not in synch, like they said. Everybody just has to be honed in on their job, every play and just know that you have to get your assignment done on that play and not mess it up.

RE: On the reason the fourth-and-two play was not successful

I don't know. We just have to get the connection down and I just have to catch the ball at the end of day. That was a critical situation, I feel as though I could have made a play. I just have to make the play.

RE: On comments from Teddy Bridgewater that this game could humble the team and whether the team needed humbling

I'm not sure. The team was just happy winning. We all love that feeling. Of course, it was just taken away from us, so we are just going to grind and get that feeling back. At the end of the day, everyone should be humble because the game of football humbles everybody.

RE: Impact of the first series of the game on the rhythm of the offense and whether it was ever able to get clicking

Going off that first drive, yes, we had some negative plays. But, before we have overcome negative plays. I felt we could have overcome it, but today just wasn't our day to do that.

RE: Whether the team is taking one step forward and two steps back and at one point is having a new quarterback and new staff no longer an excuse

It was never really an excuse. That's the thing, no matter who is out there, no matter what the coaches do, either new or old, you just have to go out there and make the plays on the field.

LT RUSSELL OKUNG

RE: The first drive and the offensive line performance

I think offenses are all about cadence and rhythm. When you come out you want to have some good positive plays, really get things moving down the field. But, we started with getting hits on the quarterback, which in our room is completely unacceptable. Starting the game getting the quarterback sacked and hit, it can't happen. Unfortunately, that was probably what happened throughout most of the game, the hits on the QB, negative plays and hats off to a good Chicago defense that really got after us today.

RE: What was said after the first series and what type of impact the pressure has on a quarterback's mindset

Teddy Bridgewater is special on to himself. It's the same thing we always hear, he's always positive, always cool, calm, poised, and in control. It's the same directives we always receive from him, exuding confidence and belief that we can overcome and get better and really start pushing things down the field. I personally say, I didn't show up as much as I would have hoped today, to fulfill what he wanted to see out of us up front. I personally have a lot of work to do.

RE: If that pressure was wearing on Teddy Bridgewater with specific examples of missing DJ Moore and throwing an interception late in the game

No, not necessarily. Perhaps up front we could have protected just a little bit longer to make a little bit more of a clean throw for him. When you're getting hit the entire game, you're trying to get the ball out and do things with timing, that stuff affects you. We just can't get him hit. I thought it was a good throw on Teddy's part and he just missed just by a little, by a little bit. That's always the story in a loss, it's always a small margin of error, which usually leads to losses when you can't overcome those big mistakes like that.

RE: On the last drive, how confident he was you that the teams was going to be able to get down the field and score and at least tie the game

Good question. I would hope, actually I know, that everyone on the team really believes that that was going to be the drive in which we were going to score, tie up the game and ultimately end up trying to win the game towards the end, whether it was overtime or however it shaped up. The belief was there, we just weren't able to execute and deliver as offense at the end.

RE: Red zone issues

In my tenure in the NFL, the red zone is all about focus, attention to detail, you are dealing with a short field. So ultimately that means that you cannot make mistakes, you have to be so much more crisp. The alignment needs to be on and you need to protect. All those things come together in the red zone, if not, there is much more of a magnifying glass when it comes to the errors or the shortcomings that any player can make. So, we have to execute in the red zone, we can't do that, we can't have those mistakes. We are getting the plays in from the coordinator and we are not delivering. We just really need to hone in a little bit more, and just try to get a one percent better every single day and see how it shapes up.

RE: If inconsistency comes with being a young team and having a new coaching staff and if it is is acceptable to be inconsistent on a week-to-week basis

Of course not. It's never acceptable to be inconsistent, especially when you are playing a really good team. The thing about playing really good teams is that the margin of error is so small. The smallest mistakes, the minutia of those mistakes can end up forcing you to lose the game. Honestly, this is a game that's going to humble us, perhaps we need to be humbled little bit more. Humility does two things, humility one can bow up with pride or bow us down in servitude. I believing that is the character of our team. The values that we have is that we are going to go back to the drawing board on Monday, watch the film, correct those mistakes and really come back on Wednesday and start our effort to go off and win the following game against New Orleans.

RE: Two false starts today the offense being out of synch and why that was the case

Yeah, it's a lack of focus on my part. Two false starts in a game, that just can't happen. You lower your percentage of actually being able to score when you have one penalty, when you have two of them throughout an entire drive or even the game, the probability goes down of you being able to score. I can't do that, I'm 11 years in. That's what I am really pointing to, that focus, that attention to detail on my part. That's not leading by example. I'm going to need to really work on that, to make sure that I am hearing things the right way, understanding them and then focusing and being attentive from play to play.

RE: What he thinks is holding the team back from being consistent in where the team wants to be

Ultimately, we want to be a rhythmic offense where we can pretty much score at will. In order to that we just need to put ourselves in a better situation where vets like myself can't make mistakes, whether it's the penalties, whether it's assignment, all those things come together and really matter down the stretch. Until we can correct those things as an offense, we can't reach the performance of who I know we can be. We are going to keep working, I know that. I think we have a hungry, chippy group who wants to be really good, really good. I'm actually looking forward to Wednesday. I think we are a resilient team, and we will preserve through this and we're going to put our hard hats on and get to work.

RE: What he means to humbled by the game of football

I think football is a lot like life. Sometimes you want things to go your way and you really believe it will be as such; and it just doesn't shape up the way you hoped and then you have to go back to the drawing board to figure things out, check things personally in your life, well in this analogy, check your play or your attention to detail, focus and the things that are being required of you and come back with a better effort. When I point at humility, im pointing at a willingness for players to take an individual responsibility for the collective. I think we have that on our team. I think our values are conducive with that level of servitude and care and responsibility of one doing their job. I think that is what I mean by this can be a humbling game. All of these games are big, you want to come out and have a great showing and it doesn't happen that way but you have to be willing to say it didn't happen the way we hoped but it can be better, we still have a ton of time and let's allow ourselves to feel this, take it as a learning experience and then move forward.

DE BRIAN BURNS

RE: What more the defense could've done today

Plenty of things that could've happened. There were a lot of opportunities that we left out on the field, plays to be made. You could look at the game a lot of ways, but you're always going to leave the game feeling like you could've done more. That's just how we are.

RE: Approach to transitioning quarterback hits into sacks

There is no transition. You just have to keep rushing and keep doing what you do. When you get back there, you've got to reach, try to knock the ball out and that can close the space a little bit but other than that, if he gets the ball out, he just gets the ball out. You've just got to keep rushing regardless of that fact. QB hits will eventually turn into sacks, sacks come in bunches, so we've just got to keep rushing and our time will come.

RE: How the defense was able to get more third down stops later in the game

I'm telling you, there isn't anything special that goes into this. You just keep going, you keep playing and things will turn out in your favor. We practice this constantly. It's a habit so all we do is keep going, keep rushing, keep doing our technique and eventually, it's going to work out for us. That's just what it is.

RE: On comments from Teddy Bridgewater that the game can be humbling and Jeremy Chinn that some players didn't use the same process this week

Basically, from those statements, they feel like a couple people got a little complacent with the three wins that we had and they came into the game figuring we were just going to win. But I didn't see it at all, in my opinion. My process is every day we've got to show up. You've got to show up to play every day no matter who it is because you can get beat on any given Sunday by anybody - from the best team to the lowest team. It is what it is. You've just got to show up and play and that's how I take it.

RE: Whether games like this are going to happen with a young defense

Yeah, I guess, but I don't view them as rookies. I just see them as part of the team. At some point, that rookie stuff just has to go. They've got to come do their job just like anybody else. We expect the same out of a vet that we expect out of (them) - it's the same, to me. I just feel like we've got to be more disciplined from the standpoint of penalties. I feel like that killed us today and that was not our best ball, period. That was not our best ball.

RE: Whether communication on the defense has been addressed and the priority now is to eliminate the penalties

Definitely, I feel like the defense played a good game for the most part besides the penalties. You cut the penalties out, I feel like we did a great job. We had a lot of energy. A lot of guys had that underdog mentality and I was loving it. We've just got to cut out the dumb mistakes. That's all it is in my opinion.

CB RASUL DOUGLAS

RE: Challenges early in the game on third down and how the defense addressed them

They just made plays, and we had opportunities to make plays and we didn't make them.

RE: Role of the cornerbacks in stopping the run game

A big part. Not as big as the d-line and (linebackers), but a big part. A lot of people try to attack us by running on the perimeter and challenging our corners to make tackles. So, we practice making tackles and coming up and helping the guys up front.

RE: Whether the defense is playing better now than in the first few games

Yes, I do think we are playing better but we're leaving a lot of plays on the grass. I know we all wish we could have those plays back, including myself. So, there's another level I think that we can tap into that we haven't reached yet.

RE: Reason Bears offense was able to convert key plays of the game despite the defense limiting their yardage

They were 4-1 coming in so they were a good team. We knew that. Absolutely right, they made plays when their number was called - whoever it was that made the play - and we had a chance to make the plays and we didn't. So, we've got to find a way to make plays. When it comes to us, we've got to be ready.

RE: Whether preparation was the same this week as the last three weeks

I believe so. I think everyone wanted this win as bad as anybody. We try to go 1-0 but we fell short. Honestly, the game just came down to [Chicago] making more plays, that's what I would say just from going through the game - at least from the defense's standpoint. When one of their guys' number was called to make a play, they made it and when our number was called on defense to make a play, we didn't make it. That team was a good team over there, and I think that we're a great team over here as well, but they just made more plays than us.

RE: Whether this game speaks to the small margin of error in the NFL

Definitely, everyone in this league is good. Clearly, not everyone makes it to the league and it's always just something little that decides the game. That's what's so good about every given Sunday. You've got to play your best football every Sunday. They played better football than us this Sunday and they won.

RE: The young secondary

I'm pretty sure me and Tre [Boston] can remember the first time we played in an NFL game, the speed of it and the emotion that we had - out there, eager to play, probably playing too fast and not letting the game unfold. But those guys get reps in practice so I think they're ready and we've got a long season so we're going to need everybody.

RE: On Bridgewater's second interception

Everyone was standing up because we knew that was the last possession of the game and it depended on what the offense did. I think it was a good play, just unfortunately we didn't follow through. We didn't make that play. I know he wishes he had that play back, we wish he had that play back but I don't think that decided the game. There were plays before that that decided the game, that was just one play.

S JEREMY CHINN

RE: Beating themselves today

I think if you ask pretty much everybody on the team, there are some plays they would go back and try to do over again. At the end, we still had an opportunity to win. It's just about coming back next week hungry, but yeah, definitely.

RE: Being in the game despite turnovers and mistakes

Yeah, I mean that's it, we were still in the game despite everything that we let up defensively. We still had an opportunity at the end of the game. But it is encouraging though. This team has fight and we're not going to stop until it's zero on the clock.

RE: First interception

Basically there was a flat seven. They ran that same play I think the drive before then, or a couple of drives before then, and ended up hitting the seven because I didn't hinge good enough so they came back and ran it again and I hinged and was able to make a play on it.

RE: If he's hopeful for the future of the defense since there is so much youth on that side of the ball

We've got guys of all ages that can play. I don't think we're necessarily thinking about the future right now. We're just taking it one week at a time and we're trying to win right now. But we do have a lot of young guys that can play.

RE: What lead to problems on third down

We've just got to make it a bigger emphasis. It's something we emphasized last week and we had success last week, but this week we've just got to take it another step and just continue to progress.

RE: QB Teddy Bridgewater saying this game was a humbling experience

I can agree with Teddy. When you win three games in a row, you kind of lose the process a little bit. You've just got to keep the steak alive instead of just taking it one week at a time, you're focusing on 1-0. That's the humbling experience right there, just know what got us those wins and just get back to that process this week.

RE: The "process" being off this week

It's just coming down to what got us here, just 1-0. Playing with that hunger, just to win one game at a time. Like I said, we may be worried about a streak or may be worried about winning four games instead of just winning one game this week. We've just got to get back to that mentality.

RE: Emphasis on stopping the run

That's something we've kind of struggled with throughout the season so far. That was definitely a big emphasis today, stopping the run. We did that, but we still left plays in the air and other opportunities for the Bears to take advantage of. We just have to play better as a whole, really.

RE: Closing the gap between getting hits on the quarterback and getting sacks

That's something we've got to figure out throughout the week and capitalizing on those plays and just visualizing it and making it happen.

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