Transcript: Smith Press Conference

Head coach Mike Smith
Injury report:

"We had a couple changes on the injury report. Devin Hester and Harry Douglas were limited participants in practice today and everything else basically stayed the same. Don't hold me to that 100%, but I believe that's what the report will say. With that I'll open it up for questions."

On how practice went:

"I thought that we had a good practice. We've been practicing well all season long, and again, it's going to be very important for us to take it to the field on game day for 60 minutes. It's a division game; it's a very important game for everybody."

On how the Panthers linebackers are playing:

"The guys that are raving, they're right. I don't know that there's two linebackers on the same team that are playing at the level these two guys are playing at. The middle linebacker's probably a candidate for defensive MVP, in my mind. Thomas (Davis) is just a wonderful story for him to continue to play at the level that he's playing at after the three knee operations."

On the key to slowing Cam Newton down:

"Well, he's a guy that's given us some problems. He's such a big, athletic quarterback, and as I said yesterday, it's tough to get him on the ground. They've got designed runs that you have to defend, and then you also have to be concerned about when he scrambles and he doesn't always scramble to run, he scrambles to pass. He's got a big arm, so those are big concerns for you."

On Kelvin Benjamin and defending big wide receivers:

"Benjamin's had seven touchdowns in his rookie season thus far, so he's a game wrecker. We consider him, Greg Olsen, the quarterback and the two running backs as the guys that we have to control. It's going to be important that you stay in phase with those guys because if you get out of phase it's hard to catch back up, the big receivers. If you're up in a physical press alignment you've got to get your work done early, especially with the way the game's being officiated it changes from years past from the big receivers. The big receivers definitely have a bigger advantage with the new points of emphasis, in terms of illegal contact, DPI."

On going against Thomas DeCoud and whether they'll change anything offensively:

"Well, Thomas knows the scheme and what we do. The verbiage and the code word and the things that you do in your no-huddle you have to change every week. I think I said it yesterday to someone that we have to change it; we may not change the word, but we may change its meaning. I think you see that across the League with offensive lineman wearing microphones in every NFL game and on TV you get an opportunity to hear all those things. We changed them when Thomas was here, and we'll change them from week-to-week because everybody's trying to get an edge and they'll listen to the TV copies."

On Greg Olsen:

"He's one of the top tight ends in the League, and he's had big games against us. He is a matchup issue whether you put a safety on him, or you put a linebacker on him. He's had some big games. That was an unbelievable catch in the third quarter of the Philadelphia game where Cam scrambled, was able to break a tackle and threw the ball up the sideline, and he was able to get his hands on the ball and stay inbounds. He is a matchup issue; this is a very good football team."

On whether the weather today posed any challenges:

"I believe that we've got a chance to have the same type of weather that we've had today, and what we're looking at tomorrow. I think it's going to be good for us. It'll give our bodies an opportunity to acclimate to a little colder weather."

On whether Cam Newton's looking any different from what he has in the past:

"No. I think he's missed some of the preseason from what I recall, in terms of his ankle surgery that he had in the offseason. He also had a rib, but when you watch him play he still looks like the same guy. I know there's some people that have a difference of opinion, but at this time of the year everybody's' banged up; nobody's 100% healthy, and that's just the way the NFL is. We've

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