DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR BOB SUTTON
Q:Any emotional boost having Justin Houston back?
SUTTON:"Well, I think Justin [Houston] has been a mainstay here for a while now and well respected. So, I think his return would be a real benefit for us in a lot of areas. Obviously, from a talent stand point on the field – he's a really good football player. I think it would have an impact on a lot of guys."
Q:Do you see, in the big picture, almost a broader benefit to not having Justin Houston earlier in the season?
SUTTON:"Well, I mean I think that's how you have to look at it, you know, because we weren't going to have him. It made all of us – coaches, players, whatever – work hard, try to develop different players. Those are also great opportunities for players because you get multiple reps – not only in games but in practice. Obviously, that can be beneficial if you take advantage of it. I think we've had some guys who have done that. So, in the end, you'd like to believe that this has made us a stronger team because it has helped develop players, guys have had a lot of playing time and been in tough situations – all of those things that you benefit from with experience, whether it's one year, or three or four years. Again, you feel like it's half empty, half full. We think it's a half full type of proposal. Yeah, we get these guys back and we have these others guys playing, and hopefully it will pay off for us down the road."
Q:Now that Justin Houston can play and when he does come in, does Dee Ford move or does Justin?
SUTTON:"I think we would be open to both. Sometimes, we play Justin [Houston] and Tamba [Hali] on the same side together. There's different defenses. Those guys are in different places. There's no question that his home is left side more than right. I don't think either one of those guys or any of those guys feel like they can only play one side. Tamba [Hali] has played both sides this season quite a bit. I don't think it will really affect them on how we play. It may be based on who else is in the game at that time."
Q:Does technique change between the two sides?
SUTTON:"I think you obviously develop. It's like a left tackle, right tackle in offense. You get used to being on a side, you practice something and you go. I think you're really good football players – if they have to
– they can go over on that other side and play. There's no question that you have some foot work things and some timing things that are affected. I know we're not an exclusive right and left side to start with. I think it would be minimal. I think everybody has a comfort zone that they like – you prefer to be there. I'm sure each of those guys have [a preference]. I wouldn't worry about it."
Q:Do you have a plan on how much you're going to use Justin Houston?
SUTTON:"I think we would do exactly what we did with Eric Berry when he came back. We concede to him – 'I need a break. Hey, I'm fine.' Most of the time, we have to monitor when they say, 'I'm fine,' because they like to keep playing. I think they're honest, and they know when they're a little winded, a little tired. Honestly, we haven't really talked a lot about this, but I think we would always go to the player and say, 'Hey, are you okay?' If he says he needs a break this series then we would roll and take him out and go like that. Hopefully, we won't see that on the field. Hopefully, he won't be in that position, but if he is than we would take it. I think most of those guys that have played a lot know when they're doing okay and when they need to take a little blow here."
CO-OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR BRAD CHILDRESS
Q:What do you see at first glance from the Carolina defense? CHILDRESS:"They're a salty group. They're very good against the run on early downs. They're somebody you've got to be on task with, just because of their front seven and particularly their front four."
Q:What does it mean to get Spencer Ware back?
CHILDRESS:"It's nice. It's always nice to be able to throw changeups and put different backs in the game. [Spencer Ware] Charcandrick [West] and Knile [Davis] all give you something different. It's nice to have Spencer with all of his faculties -- and fresh from a week off. I think he's anxious to get back in there and play."
Q:What is it about Carolina's front seven that makes them so effective?
CHILDRESS:"They're big, big guys interiorly and they can really push the pocket. When you talk about passing the ball, as important as it is to have speed rushers and flamethrowers off the edge, a push up the middle makes quarterbacks as uncomfortable as anything. It gets pushed in on them, they can't see and they can't move. Carolina does a great job there. They've got good rushers outside. Their linebackers are very active. You obviously start with [Luke] Kuechly -- he quarterbacks that whole operation. He gets people set and lined up. Thomas Davis is not too shabby either. Those guys are good. Someone was just asking me, 'Why are those guys so good against the run?' Their safeties do an excellent job of fitting the run. They play their gaps, they play them hard, they can be in your backfield from a deep alignment, they hold their alignments until the very last second on the play clock and Sean [McDermott] does a great job with those guys."
Q:What has changed the most about this Carolina team since Week One?
CHILDRESS:"I think they had some issues on their back end in the secondary. They lost Josh Norman who's a very good player in his own right. They're playing two rookie cornerbacks. I think they were playing a little bit more man coverage early on and got beat in some of that man-to-man. You've seen that kind of come down a little bit where there front zone players are deep third players. I think they've kind of struggled with who they were. They weren't who they were last year, but they're developing that personality with new personnel."
Q:Looking at Carolina's defensive line, will this be the biggest test for your offensive line this season?
CHILDRESS:"It's the toughest front they've had all year. They're substantial. They're very, very strong. They're very good on the get-off -- particularly at their place. You're going to have to change snap counts and that's always tough in a hostile environment."
Q:What's your grade on how Nick [Foles] did last week?
CHILDRESS:"I don't grade the quarterbacks. Coach [Matt] Nagy grades them. I thought he did a good job of taking care of the football. That's number one. You do that, and you can say a quarterback doesn't have anything to do with that, but if he touches it 65 times a game, he's going to have something to do with it -- so he did a good job with it. There's a couple of throws he would have liked to have had back and made better. And probably a few protection calls. Other than that, I thought he did a good job."
SPECIALS TEAMS COORDINATOR DAVE TOUB
Q:What do you see in Carolina on special teams?
TOUB:"The first thing that comes to my mind when I watch these guys on tape is how physical they are. They are very physical. Not only on the offense and defense, but on special teams. They've got some guys out there that'll just knock your block off. Number 55, [David] Mayo, he's impressive. That's the first thing we look at, then the kicker and punter are both excellent, [Graham] Gano and Andy [Lee] and then the returner Ted Ginn Jr. does both, so we have our hands full this week."
Q:Last week against the Jags, Cairo [Santos] was 4-for-4, Dustin [Colquitt] averages 47.0 net, forced fumble, Tyreek [Hill] had a big return, is that a pretty solid performance?
TOUB:"It was solid and we were happy with the performance. Now we have to string these things together. Hopefully we can get another one this week."
Q:Can you speak on the development of wide receiver Demarcus Robinson as a special teams member?
TOUB:"Every week it seems like we're talking about him because he does such a good job. As a gunner, he just keeps getting better and better each week and he makes huge plays for us. He's down there when the ball is being caught every time. Dustin hangs it and he's there. He does a great job on kickoff coverage. As a blocker, he's still developing. That's usually the last thing as a rookie that you get better at -- especially at this level is the blocking part of it. He's still improving there and he continues to get better. He's a good player for us."
Q:Have you worked with guys that have had those talents but didn't embrace the special teams role?
TOUB:"No question. But he's definitely embraced it. All of our guys have. It says a lot about our leadership from the older guys -- guys like Frank Zombo, Anthony Sherman and [Daniel] Sorensen. Those guys set the tempo and they set how hard everyone plays. Those other younger guys follow and everyone is on board with what we're doing.
Q:You generally work with younger guys. It seems like the second-year guys are having a good impact across the board. Can you speak on that?
TOUB:"D.J. Alexander, that forced fumble he had, he came down like a missile. He's a guy you really have to worry about if you're playing against us. He continues to play hard and he's really developed over the year and he's playing at a whole new level. We're real happy with his development. All those young guys are doing great."
Q:To beat the block the way that he did all the way downfield, is that just effort type thing?
TOUB:"It's effort. He's athletically talented, fast and strong. He's got a lot of will and a lot of courage. It takes a lot of courage to run down there full speed when someone is trying to take your head off. You've got to make them miss, and if you can't make them miss, you've got to blow them up. And he does that. He's impressive."
Q:What's the balance between trying to force a turnover without giving up a big gain?
TOUB:"That's a good question. We tell the guys, the first one down there needs to get him corralled. You'll see that Daniel [Sorensen] had him corralled. He was getting ready to make the tackle. The second guy in can go for the shot and try to punch the ball out. We talk about that all the time: second-third- fourth guy in -- try and get the ball out."