Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera was on a call with the media Wednesday morning to discuss his teams’ upcoming matchup against the undefeated San Francisco 49ers. Rivera, who graduated from Cal, refused to say the word “Stanford.” It became a running joke on the call. Even when talking about Christian McCaffrey, Rivera kept calling Stanford “the team on the farm.”
Rivera on preparing for a team with a new No. 1 WR
It’s pretty much the same. We’re going to look at the things they do and try to prepare those things. Kyle tends to do what he does. The biggest thing that we’ll do is prepare for what we’re expecting them to do against us.
Rivera was tight-lipped about his teams’ preparation.
What are some of the traits that make a defense special, and what are you starting to see, if any of those, in the 49ers?
Really good players. That’s probably the biggest part of the recipe people don’t realize. Secondly, you have to have an aggressive outlook on things. I really do think the 49ers do a nice job with being aggressive in terms of attacking. They have the players that have that kind of ability, and they’ve done well in the draft the last few years. They’ve put themselves in a position to be successful because of the players and the way they approach the game.
I get asked this question on radio spots all the time. It’s not difficult. The 49ers are good on defense because they have really good players. Robert Saleh has done an excellent job simplifying and making slight tweaks and in-game adjustments, but come on, when you throw out 11 players that are competent at worst, you’re going to perform very well. I think the defense complements each other well. Speed and power upfront, fearless and ferocious on the second level, and smarts and playing in sync in the defensive backfield.
Do you see some of the same hallmarks in Shanahan’s offense as far as what he does in the passing game and what he’s able to do with some of the backs?
Well, it’s funny because people do talk about the three-headed monster. I think they’re all three terrific football players. To have a plethora of backs like that tells you they’ve done a great job of bringing the right guys in. He[Shanahan] does a lot of different things. Again, the biggest thing is you’ve got to be disciplined, you’ve got to play your game and do the things you’re supposed to.
On containing Kittle
It’s a lot like the way we use Greg Olsen. This is a guy that can attack you right through the middle of your defense and go vertical. This is a guy that can work laterally along your defense and work underneath. This is a guy that can work outside. The thing we’ve got to do is recognize where he is and understand how they’re trying to use him. He’s a quality football player and does a great job for them.
Carolina has the third-best defense in football. This will be a challenge for the 49ers offensively. The Panthers’ biggest weakness? Stopping the tight end. They’re 23rd in DVOA on passes to tight ends.
On Eric Reid’s leadership
He’s been terrific, he really has. Eric is a very good young man. He’s got a high sense of moral fiber. I really do appreciate who he is as a young man. Again, just glad we have a guy like that as one of our leaders.
Reid was asked on Wednesday how he felt about returning to San Francisco, and he didn’t sound like a man that was happy about how his time ended:
Eric Reid, on his emotions heading back to SF this week: “Bitter? I wouldn’t call it bitter. I just don’t forget.”— Jourdan Rodrigue (@JourdanRodrigue) October 23, 2019
Also said he would not call this a “revenge” game, just that he is “determined.”
(more context in video below): pic.twitter.com/2A5wBEDPUv
Here is more of Reid: