HEAD COACH BRUCE ARIANS
(On where CB Carlton Davis III has improved since the beginning of last season)
"His understanding of the game [and] what he's trying to get done. His technique has improved tremendously. He did have the one penalty – the pass interference. I think he had him covered too good – just don't hook him. He's a big, physical guy who's learned how to play in front of people and he's doing a heck of a job with it."
(On having a corner like Davis III who can travel to both sides of the field with an opponent's top wide receiver)
"It's a huge luxury. There's so many things you can do defensively when you have guys like that. I think Carlton's at that spot [and] I think Jamel [Dean] and Sean [Murphy-Bunting] are going to be there next year – or pretty close – maybe by the end of this year. You never know. But, they all have that length and speed – Carlton has just learned his techniques really, really well."
(On if it's common that a cornerback's technique improves as they get more confident)
"You just have to learn your techniques and hand placements. He didn't play a lot of bump-and-run, and when he did, it was foreign. They played so much zone. It's just a matter of getting confidence in it and trusting in that speed and that length."
(On ILB Devin White being able to play a chess match with opposing quarterbacks)
"He's running the show. He's got Lavonte [David] next to him, so it's easy to look over and say, 'What do you think?' They work really, really well together on getting the checks and everything that we want to do and getting us in the right fronts and making sure the back end is connected. He's well on his way of taking over."
(On if he watches Baylor and LSU film from last season to scout Panthers Head Coach Matt Rhule and offensive coordinator Joe Brady's offense)
"We studied a bunch of Baylor film [and] Temple film on their defense. We have the Raider game offensively, a lot of LSU stuff and the one game. Most of that preparation was done once the schedule came out. You can start working on all that college stuff and a lot of it showed up in this ballgame against the Raiders."
(On how the team responded following Sunday's loss)
"Just ready to roll. 24-hour rule is now extended because we don't meet until Tuesday morning, but we watched the film and it's on to the next one. [In] professional football, you don't mope around or you're going to miss a Wednesday – we had a pretty good practice today. If you're moping around, you're going to have a really bad Wednesday."
(On his criticism of QB Tom Brady following Sunday's game)
"Tom and I are fine, so I don't really care what other people think. It's just what he and I think. We left the stadium fine [and] we showed up today fine, so there [is] nothing to talk about."
(On the media looking to write the team off after the loss on Sunday)
"I was amused when they handed us the Lombardi trophy in July. It's part of the business. You go with it and it's one week at a time [and] one day at a time. We win a few games in a row and everybody will be back on the bandwagon [and] happy. It's just part of the game. If we lose this week, the world will come to an end."
(On if he was more encouraged about how the team played after watching the film)
"I think you always are. You're very disappointed [after the game] and then you look at it and you take all the good things that happened. The things that were bad – could they be correctable? They were very correctable and we're on to Carolina now."
(On what he would change about the recorded crowd noise that played during Sunday's game)
"I'd like to just hear somebody hollering – not a steady hum. Like I said, we're used to crowd noise. I'm used to going to that stadium and having a ton of energy. It was just so different. I think it was different for all of us – players, coaches, everybody. For us going into [Raymond James Stadium], it was louder at our scrimmages than I'm sure it's going to be allowed to be. It's just something we have to get used to until we get our fans back."
(On Brady's connection with WR Scotty Miller)
"They worked very, very hard all summer and had a great camp together. It showed up in the ballgame – that's usually what happens. It happens in practice every day. We would like all three of our [wide receiver] weapons and our tight ends, so Tom distributes the ball to the guys. It's not like, 'Hey, we're throwing this one to Scotty – that's the way it is.' He has a lot of trust in, I think, all those guys."
(On what causes miscommunication between the quarterback and wide receivers)
"Option routes do take time to develop, whether you're reading coverage on the run – the quarterback and the receiver together – those things take time. There was a few of those in the ballgame, but not many."
(On if he finds quarterbacks take time to adjust to that in their first season in his offensive system)
"Yes and no. Sometimes it's more receivers getting used to it – running fast through an area."
(On DL William Gholston's performance in Sunday's game)
"He was up and down the line of scrimmage, [getting] tackles for loss, penetrating, played well against the run [and] had a couple of good pushes. [He made a] big, big play down in the red zone for a tackle for loss. He had a great camp – he stood out in camp."
(On what Carolina showed in Week 1 in its first game with a new head coach and quarterback)
"The coach and the quarterback have history in the same offense, so it's not like they're starting from scratch. That's an easy one. Teddy [Bridgewater] is a very, very bright guy and has very few turnovers in his history. That part of it didn't surprise me at all. [Christian] McCaffrey never surprises me because if he gets a crack, he's going. It all starts with him. I thought they did a good job of feeding him and Teddy played really well for them."
(On if Brady audibled to the quarterback sneak for a touchdown on Tampa's opening drive last week)
"I'd hate to give away game plans, but yeah, he did."
(On how WR Mike Evans felt in Wednesday's practice)
"He's feeling good. He ran really well and had a good practice."
(On his relationship with Panthers Head Coach Matt Rhule)
"Matty came out to Arizona and visited with us some and looked at some of our defensive stuff. [Panthers Defensive Coordinator] Phil Snow, I think, is one the best defensive coaches – college or pro. Matt's done a great job wherever he's been. High energy guy, really bright. I have a ton of respect for him and the job he did at Baylor and Temple was outstanding."
(On TE Rob Gronkowski's performance on Sunday)
"I thought he played fine. There were some times where he was matched up on Cam Jordan and some other guys – that's no easy chore for any tight end, especially if it's your first game back. We'd like to have seen a little more push, but a stalemate against him – I'll take that every time. He got his feet wet back in the league and was fine. Nothing glaring, that's for sure."
(On injury updates regarding players who missed Wednesday's practice)
"Chris Godwin is in the concussion protocol. He did not show any symptoms Monday or Tuesday and then showed up today with some, so we're going to be very, very cautious with that. Everybody else practiced."
WIDE RECEIVER SCOTTY MILLER
(On seeing his relationship with QB Tom Brady unfold in a game after working together throughout the offseason)
"It was nice to see it unfold on Sunday. I put in so much work this offseason and then we put in so much work together as far as me and Tom and all the skill guys together. To see it pay off was nice and that's just the mindset we have. We had put in so much work, so what's different today than what we've been doing the last three or four months?"
(On what allows him to have a strong connection with Brady)
"I think just the work that we put in. I try to be exactly where he wants me to be at all times [and] I try to just be on the same page as him. He's such a smart player, such a high I.Q. player, that he knows where all the openings are going to be. If I can just be on the same page with him, I should be able to get some balls and get open."
(On if he enjoys his role in the offense and his ability to get involved in various ways)
"Absolutely. Just to be out on the field is a blessing – to be able to play with these great players – and I think the coaches put me in a great position to be able to go out there, make plays and help the team. I really couldn't ask for anything more."
LINEBACKER DEVIN WHITE
(On the defensive performance in Week 1 vs. New Orleans)
"Overall, as far as a defense, I feel like we executed Coach [Todd] Bowles' game plan. The only thing was I felt like we should've been able to get more sacks and a couple turnovers. That's what we kind of pride ourselves on is getting takeaways, so if the offense comes out and struggles early, we kind of get them back in the game and get them going. I don't think we did that well, but we ended up making up for it, playing hard and just being sound. I think that helped us out a lot. As far as the things I think our defense needs to continue doing – that's just dominating and limiting the mental mistakes, like jumping offside or [getting] PI (pass interference penalty) [called] when we could've had a pick – just little stuff like that. It was the first game and the first jitters. At the end of the day, I felt like we played well. But from the way we practiced today, I know we still know we've got more to prove."
(On his progression from his rookie year to his second season)
"Last year, I was just running around a lot in the offseason, traveling to different teams, the fatigue [of] not just being settled in and knowing what's needed of me and just doing it. I feel like I've matured more as a young man. I did a lot of things right in the offseason to lead me to come back and have the best camp ever. I wanted to build off camp going into the season because I don't plan on playing good every game – I plan on playing great every game and every time I step out there. I don't want to say, 'I wish I could have this play back.' I want to just do it the first time and do it right. I look at myself as the best inside linebacker in the game. I've got to go out there and prove myself right, like I said about the defense as a whole. Me and Lavonte [David], we compete very hard – let's see who's going to be the best, let's see who's going to have the best game. If I'm competing against a guy like that, there's only good things that can come for me because I know he's going to be on his game because he's been on it for the past eight years. I've just got to pass his level and make him come catch me. It's a fight in our linebacker room of who can be the best and who's going to have the best game. I just challenge myself every day at practice and when I go home, I'm still working, watching film and doing the little things."
(On if the defense will have to 'carry' the offense early in the season while the team finds its rhythm with new QB Tom Brady)
"Well, I don't feel like we have to carry the offense, but I truly feel that the game should be in our hands because we're what makes this team go forward. It's always, 'Defense wins championships.' That's the mindset. We know we've got all of those guys over there [on offense], but we don't count on those guys. We don't depend on those guys, we want those guys to be able to depend on us where if anything goes wrong, we'll dig them out of the hole. That's what we do. That's what we pride ourselves on. We already know that we're the best. We want to set a standard and we want to play by that standard. We're just going to keep getting better, week in and week out. It's a mentality you've got to have. You can't wait for somebody to praise you. You've got to go out there and take it. You've got to make them praise you – that's what we're doing. We want people to talk about us. When you talk about how Tom [Brady] didn't have a great game – talk about how good the defense did, and what more they can do as they continue to get better. It's just our mindset. We know we've got a flashy guys over there, but we're going to [have] a lot of flashy guys when it comes to the end of the season on the defensive side of the ball [too]."
SAFETY ANTOINE WINFIELD JR.
(On his first NFL game)
"The first week went well. It was my first NFL game, so I was extremely excited just to even be out there. I felt like I left out some plays that I could've made, but it was a great first week and first NFL game."
(On how much of an asset CB Carlton Davis III and his leadership abilities are to the secondary)
"A huge asset – every time we're on the field together, he's out there talking to me and we're just out there feeding off each other's energy. Having Carlton out there, he's a great leader and a great player."
(On facing Saints RB Alvin Kamara and Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey in back-to-back weeks to start the season)
"I love it. I'm a competitor. I love competing against the best. I feel like it only elevates my game. So, I'm just super excited to go out there, play, have fun and get better from it."
(On Head Coach Bruce Arians saying that Winfield Jr. played very physical and very smart in his first NFL game, and if he thinks he played smarter or more physical)
"Well, I would say both. I think I did both pretty well for my first game. The goal is just to keep adding on and keep getting better each and every day. I would say both."