The Carolina Panthers struggled to move the ball on offense for a second straight week and fell to the New Orleans Saints, 20-17, in the national spotlight on Monday night.
The team is now 0-2 and the only NFC South team that isn’t undefeated.
Here’s a recap of what Panthers head coach Frank Reich said after the loss.
Update on Shaq Thompson’s injury
“He did have a significant ankle injury. Probably is going to miss an extended period of time. We’ll do further evaluations tomorrow, and we’ll give you (those updates) when we have a full evaluation.”
Overview on the play of the defense, offense
“Tough loss. You just gotta own every bit of it. We gotta learn from it. We gotta get better. Obviously, I felt the defense really played well, kept us in the game for a long time. I was encouraged, it was 6-3 at halftime and we felt like we were struggling on O, like we were behind the sticks all the time. We just couldn’t get in a rhythm on offense. Some penalties and some miscues here and there had us behind the sticks.
“The defense kept us in, made plays, got a turnover. That was good. I thought special teams played well. We were talking in there for a little bit. Not the team, just a couple guys: I’ve seen this before, and it’s not that far away. It looks bad, but really I don’t believe it’s that far away. You make a couple plays here and there and next thing you know, you got 28, 30 points. I know that’s true. I know we have the players and the coaches to do it. I have zero doubt about that. It’s just that we need to execute better on offense.”
On Bryce Young throwing under pressure
“I think Bryce is handling the pressure well. Listen, he’s a quarterback. ... We’re going to take the heat. And that just comes with the territory. You own that, and you understand that when you’re in that position. And Bryce understands that for the position he’s in. So I can tell you this: Our struggle on offense is not one person. Again, we’ll look at the film, but I thought Bryce did some really positive things, made some good plays with his feet, made some good decisions, made good throws, showed plenty of things that we want to see.
So I was encouraged by that. I know how hard it is to play that position. I’ve been around it a long time, and I know how dependent it is on everything. So we all gotta get better, coaches and players.”
Addressing the play of receivers
“I thought the receivers ran good routes. I thought there were some things that looked good out there at times. So again, I gotta take a closer look at the film, but I’m confident in our group of receivers.”
On calling plays and the possibility of handing off to OC Thomas Brown
That’s not a change I would make in a game. Listen, I’ve mentioned this before: The way we call plays, I’m calling the plays, but it’s very collaborative. I’m talking to everyone on the sideline. I’m the one who calls them, and I’m going to do what’s best for the team, and right now I think it’s best for the team that I’m calling the plays, I’m confident in the play-calling. We all gotta get better, but I’m not ready to do anything there.
Thomas is a great coach. One day I want to him to call them. When that will be, I don’t know.”
Bryce Young’s fumble in the first half
“Every turnover hurts. ... He made several plays with his feet today. This is one where he got caught from behind and gets the ball out. It was a tough break, but we gotta try to (move forward).”
On scattered boos raining down in second half
“Yeah, and I don’t think that’s on Bryce. That’s on me. That’s on our team. That’s part of it. I don’t like it. Believe me, we want to give the fans wins and an exciting brand of football. That’s what we’re going to do. ... But it’s a process. We’re two games into a 17-game season. Things haven’t gone the way we want it, but we’re not just throwing in the towel. It’s a long year. We have a game coming up here Sunday. It’ll be up on us real quick. So we gotta learn from this one and get better for next week.”
On experiencing a slow start to the season and coming back
“It’s a week to week league. All that matters is the next week. We started 1-5 and made the playoffs one year. I’m not saying it’s easy to do, and I don’t want to do it. ... We can’t play all hypothetical scenarios as coaches. I understand everybody else has to do that. If I was a fan or a journalist, I’d be thinking all those things. For coaches and the players, we’re thinking about Seattle. We’re thinking, ‘Hey let’s watch this tape, and let’s see how each one of us can get better.’ And stay in the present. Forget everything else.
All that matters is Seattle. This one, there’s nothing we can do about it except learn from our mistakes. So we’ll learn from our mistakes and get ready for Seattle.”