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What They're Saying: Panthers Discuss Falcons

Head coach Ron Rivera

On what he's seen from the Falcons' offense this year:
"Well, for the most part, they've scored a lot of points and done some really good things. I think you have to be aware because they have some playmakers. Julio Jones is as good as they come in this league. He really is. I like their combination of running backs. I think Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman are two solid running backs that make plays when they get the ball in their hands. I like who Matt Ryan is and that offensive line revamped, bringing some guys in like they have. So it's a solid group."

On what he's seen from the Falcons' defense this year:
"It's a good football team. Defensively, I like their guys. I think they attack. I have a tremendous amount of respect for the scheme that they run. I think (head coach Dan Quinn) has done a nice job getting across to the guys how to play it."

On how he prepares his young cornerbacks for Julio Jones:
"Well, truth of the matter is you just tell them to do their job more so than anything else. Play with their technique, play within the scheme, know where your leverage is supposed to be. That's probably the biggest thing you could tell the young guys. And play hard, play physical. That's it; that's all you can tell those guys. It's one of those things where we've played against good guys all week, all year so far. A good receiver steps on the field, you have to play your best."

On if the Falcons getting eight/nine receivers involved every game is a lot in relative terms:
"In my time, you were lucky to throw eight or nine balls in a game. I think the average was about 55 plays a game, and probably 30 of them, 40 of them were runs — unless there was a big differential in the score, then there were a lot of throws. So for the most part, it's an astounding number to see eight or nine guys catching the ball. It just shows that they have a good group of guys that they roll in there. They've got good skill position players; they've got solid tight ends; and they have good backs in the backfield. So (Matt Ryan) has a lot of weapons. I have a tremendous amount of respect for who Matt Ryan is as a quarterback. I think he's got one of the really good arms in this league."

Quarterback Cam Newton

On how to avoid being sacked frequently like he was last Sunday:
"Just pressure recognition and just getting the ball out of my hands. That's just what it comes down to. But nevertheless, we're optimistic about moving forward, and ready to take on the challenge from Atlanta, a great team, a divisional opponent, so that counts for two."

On if he still gets revved up to play in Atlanta (his hometown):
"Of course I do. But Atlanta is just the next game. They're coming off a really big win on Monday night, but we have to be ready. They don't care about Carolina; we'd probably say the same about them. That's a great team. We understand their mentality is changing. They're a very physical team that's true to who they are. We just have to dissect it and be ready for what they throw at us."

On the Falcons' defense:
"Their defense is broken down to certain aspects. They have an extremely good secondary. Those guys are trying to create turnovers as much as possible. Their front seven is extremely talented, and we have to take account of a lot of things that they do. And it's really going to come down to us."

On if it bothered him that Carolina's first loss of 2015 came in Atlanta:
"It always bothers me when we lose. It doesn't matter (where). … A loss is a loss."

Cornerback Robert McClain

On what he learned during his time with the Falcons:
"I feel as though my career really changed in my first year with the Falcons (in 2012) when I was with Asante Samuel. Just picking his brain a lot and learning not only my opponent that I'm going against, but also route combinations because there's no magic in the NFL anymore. Everybody runs a similar offense. It's really a chess match when you're out there on Sundays, and as you play more years in the NFL, you start seeing different route combinations and how things are set up in certain ways."

On Atlanta's offense:
"They're a very, very explosive offense. They're the No. 1 offense in the NFL right now, so we'll have to be out there on our P's and Q's defensively. We have to go out there and make sure we stop their weapons on offense."

Quotes from Newton and McClain are courtesy of

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