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Transcript: Carolina Panthers HC Ron Rivera talks Los Angeles Rams prior to Week 1

“What McVay does with the offense and – I believe – their $100 million quarterback, is pretty impressive.”

Pittsburgh Steelers v Carolina Panthers Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Panthers HC Ron Rivera — Conference Call — September 4, 2019

(On QB Cam Newton’s status for Sunday’s game)

“So far, so good. (QB) Cam Newton has practiced the last couple of practices we’ve had. He’s taken all of his reps. He’s moving around very well.”

(On if he anticipates Newton will start against the Rams on Sunday)

“Yeah. I do believe he’s on his way.”

(On his impressions of the Rams)

“Just from watching them last year and watching tape on them, it’s a dynamic football team. Look at what they do offensively, special teams and defense, they play well in all three facets of the game. I think they’re all well coached. You have some familiarity in the style of the defense that (Defensive Coordinator) Coach (Wade) Phillips has, he’s got the players to do it, so you see a lot of positive things there. Special teams, I think (Special Teams Coordinator) Coach (John) Fassel is a very aggressive special teams coach. They’ve got the players that you would want out there. Again, what (Head) Coach (Sean) McVay does with the offense and – I believe – their $100 million quarterback, is pretty impressive.”

(On what challenges come when facing a team that didn’t play its starters and key reserves in the preseason)

“You’ve just got to prepare for a lot of things that they do and that’s the thing. You have to go back, you have to look at the last year, last year at the beginning of the season. You’ve got to look at how they finished the season, the players they have, and then you’ve got to gameplan accordingly and try and anticipate and almost guess what you’re going to get. You’ve got to be flexible and ready to adjust. That will be a big part of this game is being able to handle the adjustments you’ll have to make on the sideline as well.”

(On if he learned anything from watching the Patriots and the Bears play the Rams last season)

“Well, we watched a lot of tape and there’s a lot of things that a lot of people try to do against them. Some successful, some unsuccessful. Again, like I said though, what you’ve got to do is you’ve got to prepare for what they do and try to understand what they’re trying to do against you and then you adjust accordingly.”

(On what he has seen in QB Jared Goff from early in his career to where he is now and what he does to make things tough on the defense)

“What’s really great is seeing (QB) Jared’s (Goff) development. He’s a solid, young man that I’ve had the opportunity to meet him and he went to my alma mater, so there’s a little of a connection there. It’s fun to have watched his growth, it really is. His second season when he was connected with (Head) Coach (Sean) McVay and just watching how Jared showed what he’s capable of. That’s always exciting to see. Then, you just see his growth every year and the hard part is we didn’t get a chance to see how much he’s grown in the preseason, so we’ll have to wait and see on Sunday. You just know that he’s going to continue to grow. He doesn’t know everything yet. He’s got a very good coach in terms of an offensive mind that can really help him develop. You’ve got an opportunity to watch a very dynamic defense in what (Defensive Coordinator) Coach (Wade) Phillips does. He’s around a lot of good football and you can only imagine if he just continues to grow as a football player. It’s exciting to watch.”

(On the challenge of controlling DT Aaron Donald and reading the Rams defense)

“Well, you know the thing you’ve got to be careful of, is if you spend too much time on him, you are going to forget about the rest of their team too, and some of the schemes that (Defensive Coordinator) Coach (Wade) Phillips has. So again, (DT) Aaron (Donald) I think really, truly is one of the elite players in this league. He’s been a lot of fun to watch. He is a guy that just comes out. He’s got a tremendous motor. He plays with explosiveness, quickness, and he is a very smart young man who understands the game. When you have to play against guys like that, they pose a lot of problems because as the game wears on, you know based on the work that he’s done, he’s going to make plays. What you’ve got to try to do is not allow his big plays to become game-changers. He has that kind of ability.”

(On lessons that can be learned following a season where your team comes off a conference championship)

“Well, you know, it’s going to vary by team. The toughest thing we had coming off of a conference championship was we had to open up on the road against the defending champions, which had never happened in 50 years. So, their situation and circumstance are different. So, it would be hard to compare and say that’s what they’ve got to be careful of. I’d imagine with (Head) Coach (Sean) McVay’s background and being there with (Defensive Coordinator) Coach (Wade) Phillips, that they probably talked about what their challenges are going to be.”