The Falcons (0-1) are set to face the Panthers (1-0) at 1 p.m. Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Here’s what Panthers coach Ron Rivera had to say about the game in a conference call Wednesday with the Atlanta media:
On the Falcons’ losses on defense and if that changes the Panthers’ approach: “It’s not going to change anything. Again, they’ve got more than capable back ups just like we do. We are in the same situation on the offensive (line). At the end of the day, they’ve got to do what they do. Their backiups are in the NFL for a reason. I just believe that it’s about the next man up mentality.”
On the Panthers’ offense under Norv Turner: “One of the things is that Norv has a good handle on what we want to do and how we want to do it. I really like the way he uses our different personnel. I had the good fortune of coaching with him in San Diego and I got a feel for his understanding of how he wants to attack things. I feel very comfortable with the things that he does and the way that he handles our offense and our personnel. I think that’s the biggest thing more than anything else. He does certain things to try to get the ball into the playmakers’ hands.”
On rookie tight end Ian Thomas: “We are very pleased with what we’ve gotten from Ian. Ian has done a great job for us. I don’t think a lot of people know a lot about him, which I think is fine with us. Very athletic. Good hands. Good route runner. Good blocker. He has a lot to learn. He’s still learning and growing. We really feel that him and Chris Manhertz along with Alex Armah, gives us an opportunity to kid of supplant those reps that we are going to lose from Greg. (Olsen).”
On both teams struggling in the red zone: “It changes the dynamics. … You are not out in the middle of the field. It’s a more contained area. You have to continue to work at it and do the best that you can.”
On the development of running back Chrisitan McCaffrey: “One of the reasons that Norv is here is the success he’s had with these types of back. If you go back and look at what he’s done in the past having Emmitt (Smith), LaDainian (Tomlinson) and Darren Sproles. I think Christian fits that mold. He’s a scat back out of the backfield as far as route-running and catching the ball. He’s a good inside runner. He bounces the ball well and he’s got good vision. I just feel that it’s a really good fit for us having Norv with our offense.”
On what he saw in the Falcons offense against the Eagles: “I’ll tell you what, they’ve got a tremendous amount of play makers. I like the guys that they’ve got. I like the things that they do. Again, it was the first game and a lot of these guys didn’t get a lot of extended time in the (exhibition) season. The more they practice and the more they work at it and play, the better they are going to get. It’s a good football team. Believe me, we are not going to take these guys lightly at all.”
On the play of Dontari Poe: “Dontari has been tremendous. He fits in very well. He’s a solid guy. He’s working hard for us. I really like the things he does and brings to the table for us. He’s what I call a space-eater, which allows your linebackers to run. He gets a good push up the middle and doesn’t allow the quarterbacks to step up. He’s done a great job for us.”
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