Charlotte, NC - Two weeks after the Saints handled the Panthers, 31-13, to re-establish dominance in the NFC South, the teams meet again.
Just like the December 7th meeting in the Superdome, the Saints are coming off an embarrassing loss. Cam Newton's Panthers handled the Jets, 30-20, and can regain control of the NFC South and #2 seed in the NFC with a win Sunday.
The following are Newton's comments to media by teleconference Wednesday, as transcribed by the New Orleans Saints:
I was talking to a Saints player the other day and he said you will probably be happy to watch that film of them against the Rams. What did you see out of that and did you think there is something to this thing that the Saints can't play as well on the road?
"It is not anything that we are more excited to watch the Rams game. We are more excited to watch our film on what we did not do whether than watching another team play because those weren't our plays that we didn't execute. It is all going to come down to the same thing when we watch this film and we watch their film, it is going to come down to us as an offense executing and putting on a better performance than we did two weeks ago."
When you look back at that game against the Saints, can you pinpoint what went wrong or what needs to be corrected?
"It is just overall game play. As an offense we didn't get the job done. We put our defense in compromised situations being at those guys are very lethal and dangerous at home. For us, we didn't play Panther football offensively and from the looks of it, special teams or as a defense. We are a better team than what we showed that day and we have an opportunity to prove that come Sunday."
How big is this game for you that you get the chance to try to beat the Saints in week 16 and take a one game lead on them in the NFC South in week 16?
"This is the biggest game of the year not because of all the hype that is going into it. It is the biggest game for us because this is our next game. We have had the approach that each and every week and it has put us in this position right now. For us, we are not going to go into this preparation like we did everything else because at the end of the day this is our next game. We didn't pick it, those guys just showed up on our schedule. We were excited to have that opportunity to play those guys a couple weeks ago. We didn't succeed and we have an opportunity to prove it, not only to ourselves, but to everyone else that we are the real deal."
When you look at the struggles against the Saints pass rush, how much was it execution versus game plan?
"It was just as much execution as it was game plan. It is not no pointing fingers this way about who didn't get their job done or who did get their job done. A long story short, we didn't get the job done as an offense. That is going to need to increase for us to have any type of chance of winning this game coming up."
When Junior Galette got a sack against you he mocked your superhero impression. Is that something that sparks you?
"It is not the first time it has happened and it won't be the last time. For him doing that it does nothing to me. The only thing that I am ticked about is that I got sacked in the first place. I could have stepped up in the pocket. I should have thrown the football away to negate that type of outlook. For me, it is all about playing my game, the offense as a whole, if we do that we will be alright."
Are you impressed or flattered by his move?
"No sir. I am not focused on judging people's talks after sacking me. That is not something that I look for, two, that is not something that I even focus any energy of. Like I said, if I would have stepped up in the pocket or I threw the football away, we wouldn't even be having this discussion and that is what I plan on doing in this game coming up. Sacks or drops are killers and momentum slingers and we can't give those guys any momentum in this game because the team that has the most spark will win this football game come Sunday."
What is the mood like out there in the locker room and on the practice field?